New Delhi railway station, the countries busiest station, is set to be the first railway station in India to offer free Wi-Fi connectivity for passengers, according to a report.
The pilot project at the New Delhi station will cost around Rs 80 lakh and take about 3 to 4 months to implement. Once running passengers on all 16 platforms will have Wi-Fi access for their mobile devices. There are also plans to replace the kiosks, used to check information about the train position, expected arrival time and other similar data, at the station with tablets. (Source)
“A Mumbai-based company has been given the job to make the New Delhi station a Wi-Fi enabled station,” a senior Railway Ministry official told the source.
With Wi-Fi zones a commonplace thing in most cities, it doesn’t come as a shocker that the Indian Railways has planned to introduce this service at stations. Telecom operators like Tata Docomo and Aircel offer free and paid wi-fi Internet at airports already. With internet access slowly becoming a necessity from a luxury for most passengers in big cities, it is high time that such services are provided to passengers. However, securing such a network will be quite a challenge. Free public wi-fi also tends to be misused by many. Mobile based authentication might help in curbing some misuse.
This is not the first time the Railways has had its tryst with Wi-Fi. Back in April the Railway Minister had inaugurated free Wi-Fi service on the Delhi-Howrah Rajdhani Express. The service is supposed to be extended to Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains by the end of the financial year. The implementation costs around Rs 6.3 crores and uses a satellite communication link to provide up to 4 mbps of download speed.
Railways has been trying to improve its tech savviness of late. Last month the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation(IRCTC) had introduced an SMS based train ticketing system, first announced during the 2013 Railway Budget, for passengers to make bookings via their mobile phone.