- Nov 30, 2015
Late last year, Google CEO Sundar Pichai outlined a project that would bring free public Wi-Fi access to over 400 train stations across India. Today, the search giant has rolled out the service at Mumbai Central, a railway station through which over 100,000 people pass through on a daily basis. Over 100 stations will be covered by the end of 2016, with Allahabad, Patna, Jaipur and Ranchi next in line to get free Wi-Fi.
Google is leveraging the Indian Railways' RailTel service, which delivers internet services through an extensive fiber network dubbed as RailWire. The public Wi-Fi on offer will be fast enough to stream a video in HD, and while there wasn't a mention of bandwidth consumption limits, Google states that the connection will be throttled after the first hour of usage to prevent any misuse, adding: "Most people should still be able to do the things they'll want to do online."
As for how you can access free Wi-Fi at stations where the service is live, there's a handy infographic:
From Gulzar Azad, Head of Access Project, Google India:
We've focused on delivering a network that is at par with the high speed public Wi-Fi network that is available to users in developed countries. The network is built for wide coverage and high capacity usage unlike a typical Wi-Fi hotspot which offers connectivity in limited area and poor experience. This network will extend to cover both long distance train station and the local train station in Mumbai Central. The next four stations we'll bring online will be Allahabad, Patna, Jaipur and Ranchi and others will follow very shortly.
The service will be entirely free in the initial stages, but with the long-term goal being self-sustainability to "allow for expansion to more stations and places," there will be paid access in the future. Google does mention that some level of free Wi-Fi will always be available.