NEW DELHI: With only 10 per cent work done in providing Internet connectivity at 8,500 stations by March 2019, the Indian Railways will reach out to both state-owned and private companies to fund the Wi-Fi project under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) head The public transporter has so far provided Wi-Fi connectivity at nearly 709 railway stations.
The RailTel has entered into an agreement with the Mahataa Information India Private Limited (MIIPL) for providing Wi-Fi at A1 and A category stations.
The cost of providing Wi-Fi facility at these high-footfall stations is shared by RailTel and MIIPL. The target of providing internet facility at these stations was also delayed due to logistics and technical issues.
Recently, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal expressed his concerns over the task at hand to complete the project.
Launched in January 2016 at the Mumbai Central railway station by then railway minister Suresh Prabhu as a Digital India initiative, the idea was to extend services to all stations and in trains. RailTel plans to provide a host of services under RailWire, in addition to offering Wi-Fi. The plan is to develop kiosks with hotspots offering e-banking, e-governance, e-healthcare and other e-services.
“There have been some delays, but we are working to achieve the targets. We are now reaching out to business houses to join hands with the railways for Internet connectivity under CSR. This will help in expanding the facility at smaller stations,” said a senior official.
Free Wi-Fi is already there in select trains and it is likely to be available in 50 more trains by the end of the financial year 2018-19. Passengers in trains get access to 4 Mbps download bandwidth and 512 Kbps upload bandwidth, with speed depending on number of passengers using the service.