6,000 Railway Stations Across India to Offer Wi-Fi Service
Google has already been providing free Wi-Fi access across 400 railway stations in India. 
Google has already been providing free Wi-Fi access across 400 railway stations in India. (Photo: The Quint)

6,000 Railway Stations Across India to Offer Wi-Fi Service

Around 6,000 railway stations will be Wi-Fi -enabled in the next six-eight months, Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday, 28 August.

Addressing the 'Smart Railways Conclave' organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Goyal said that the railways was focusing on smarter implementation of projects.

Goyal noted that the national transport behemoth will have to start thinking, planning, and working smartly. "I think that's the change that you would have seen the last four years," he added.

The Wi-Fi service is likely to aid in better tracking of trains, which will be fitted with GPS trackers, to ensure emergency services can be provided whenever a mishap occurs.

“We believe that if we have to leverage digital technology, the basic ingredient is to ensure access to technology in the remotest part of the country”, the railway minister said.

“The railways is working on a programme to ensure last mile connectivity, wherever we do not have fibre optics in our network. We are hopeful that in the next six to eight months, all railway stations, other than the halt stations, will be Wi-Fi -enabled,” he added.

Although he didn’t mention the details of who’s going to support the back-end for the Wi-Fi service, it could either be handled by Google via RailTel or maybe even Facebook, with its Express Wi-Fi project.

On punctuality of trains, the minister said that between 1 April and 28 August 2018, punctuality has improved from 73 to 74 percent, as the railways has replaced manual recording of time by station masters with data loggers placed at interchange points across the network.

"We are working on putting a GPS device on every locomotive so that we will have every train marked on mobile phone, knowing exactly where they are." He also said that the railways was embarking on making itself efficient in a big way which will save around USD 2 billion every year, failing which the burden would have to be passed on to the passengers.

Goyal, however remained optimistic, adding that "With efficient railways, we won't have to burden the poor," he said.

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