The Indian Railways has entered into an agreement with Google India to provide Wi-Fi across 400 stations in the country, according the government.
Responding to a query in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha informed the House recently that the RailTel Corporation of India Ltd (RCIL), the telecom arm of the Railways and a PSU under the Railway Ministry, has signed an agreement with the Mahataa Information India Pvt Ltd (MIIPL), an arm of Google Inc, to provide 400 stations with Wi-Fi in two phases.
The move is set to increase the internet penetration in the country. The first phase will cover as many as 100 stations out of the total ‘A1’ and ‘A’ categories, and the facility would be extended to 300 stations in the second phase, according to Sinha.
Non-suburban stations with an annual passenger earning of more than Rs 60 crore are categorised as ‘A1’ stations, while those with yearly passenger income from Rs 8 crore to Rs 60 crore fall under the category of ‘A’ stations.
The capital expenditure for the project would be incurred by RCIL and MIIPL, the minster added.
According to unconfirmed reports, Mumbai Central is expected to be among the first railway stations to boast of free Wi-Fi. The service will be free for the first 30 minutes after which users have to pay a particular amount for the usage, much like how users access free internet on the airport.