This is its first stop in a grand plan to provide Wi-Fi at 400 train stations in India
All aboard! The Google Wi-Fi service will hit the Mumbai Central Railway Station tomorrow, Techcrunch reports.
This is the first step in a programme designed by Google’s Access & Energy Team programme, in partnership with India’s state-owned neutral telecom infrastructure provider RailTel. Its aim: To bring free (for now) Wi-Fi access to India’s 10 million rail passengers daily across 100 train stations all over the country.
It plans to eventually cover 400 train stations in the future. RailTel’s fibre-optic networks will cover about 41,000 kilometres of track, with plans to extend it to 53,000 kilometres in the near future.
The programme was first announced by Google CEO Sundar Pichai in September last year, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Google’s campus.
“We’d like to help get these ‘next billion’ Indians online — so they can access the entire web, and all of its information and opportunity. And not just with any old connection — with fast broadband so they can experience the best of the web,” said Pichai, in an official Google blog post last year.
“Best of all, the service will be free to start, with the long-term goal of making it self-sustainable to allow for expansion to more stations and other places, with RailTel and more partners, in the future,” he added in the same post.
No doubt, it will be a monumental task for Google to ensure that the connections are not only consistent across the board, but also secure. Other countries in the region have also started to implement similar systems. In Singapore, there is currently free Wi-Fi at 33 MRT stations, with an average of 700,000 logins everyday.
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