Early this year, Google announced that it would be providing free Wi-Fi in railway stations in India, and it started with the launch of high speed Wi-Fi access at Mumbai's Central Station. In September it was reported that the free service was expanded to over 18 stations since its launch and the Mountain View based company also mentioned that it is their target to roll out the service to 100 train stations across India before the year 2016 comes to a close.
With just over a week before the new year, Google has managed to hit its target and has announced that the free Wi-Fi service is now available in 100 train stations across India. The train station, Udhagamandalam located in Tamil Nadu, happens to be the 100th station to receive the free service. The Google Wi-Fi service is offered to the public in collaboration with RailTel and it currently has over 5 million active users who use the service on a monthly basis. On top of that, the service gains 15,000 new users on a daily basis. According to Gluzar Azad, Google India's head of connectivity, the service has had an impact on commuters in the country. Azad also mentioned that the company is really excited about reaching this milestone and it is an incredible feeling for them to look back and see how far they have progressed since then. The Wi-Fi service which is called Railwire Wi-Fi was made possible with the partnering of Indian Railways and RailTel, and Google plans to make the service available at 400 railway stations throughout India in the near future.
To mark the milestone achieved, Google shared stories from its consumers who make use of the free Wi-Fi, and how it has made an impact in their lives. Bhagwan Sahay, a user from Jaipur said that he visits the railway station every 3 to 4 days to get Internet access, and when he does, he downloads apps and updates them. He also gets content for his daughter as she uses his smartphone in the evening to fulfill her educational needs. Bholu, a migrant worker, uses the service to video call his wife, as the connectivity is good. The image is usually blurred but with the free Wi-Fi service, the clarity of the image has improved greatly. Google is also planning on expanding the service outside of India, but a timeline hasn't been given yet.