Indian Railways has successfully completed the work of providing free public Wi-Fi at 5,500 stations across the country. Mahua Milan railway station of East Central Railway Zone became the 5,500th station in the country to have free public Wi-Fi. It may be noted that this is a unique initiative as this Wi-Fi network is one of the largest public Wi-Fi networks in the world.
In order to transform the railway stations into the hub of digital inclusion, Railways mandated RailTel, a Miniratna PSU under Ministry of Railways, to provide free high-speed Wi-Fi at the railway stations across India. The project started in January 2016 from the financial capital of India – Mumbai Central station and in a span of about 4 years, Railways has successfully provided Wi-Fi at 5,500 stations across the country.
The aim behind this initiative was to provide Wi-Fi at all railway stations (except the halt ones). Along the journey, RailTel has roped in partners like Google, Tata Trust, PGCIL for some parts of the project and also got funding from Department of Telecom USOF for 200 stations. The Wi-Fi is being provided under the brand name of RailWire.
In October this year, A total of 1.5 crores users logged in to access ‘RailWire’ Wi-Fi services across all stations consuming 10,242 TB of data. Railway Ministry hopes that free access to high-speed Wi-Fi will help in bridging the digital divide between rural and urban India.
Students at stations can use the waiting time to download study materials, vendors can be used the service for digital payment transactions, daily passengers can use this facility to learn new skills online or to surf the net. This free Wi-Fi has been a boon to people who otherwise suffer from poor connectivity issues.
Designed to offer users fast surfing, downloading speed, RailWire Wi-Fi will be available to any user who has a smartphone with working mobile connection for KYC considerations. To use the Wi-Fi, the user has to switch on the Wi-Fi mode on the smartphone and select the RailWire Wi-Fi network.
The RailWire homepage automatically appears on the smartphone. The user has to enter their mobile number on this homepage. The user will get a one-time password (OTP) in the form of SMS in the message box which has to be entered in the home page of RailWire. After entering OTP Users will be able to access high-speed internet & can start internet browsing.