Google has announced the availability of free wifi service for passengers traveling from Mumbai Central railway station.
In September 2015, Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, had announced its plans to connect 10 Mn rail passengers with internet by bringing wifi availability to various stations.
The program is a part of Google’s Access & Energy Team in partnership with RailTel India. To ensure that passengers receive high-speed connection, RailTel has built a network of fiber optic lines along major rail tracks across the country, which Google will be using to support Wireless Access Points at train stations.
Initially, the partnership aims to provide access points at 100 train stations across India in 2016, and then expand to 400 stations nationwide. RailTel’s fiber optic infrastructure covers over 26,000 miles of railway track, and the company plans on growing that to cover 33,000 miles of track. The company has decided that first hour of the service will be free, but then the speeds will be limited to give equal access to all passengers.
Interestingly, Google’s decision to provide free internet services has come at the time when Facebook’s Free Basis program is talk of the town. Both, Free Basis and Google’s wifi project were discussed at the time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited U.S. with an agenda for its Digital India initiative. It will definitely be a great tug-of-war to see how Facebook gets its Free Basics rolling after Google’s this move.
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