Having installed free Wi-Fi hotspots in 100 railway stations across India already, RailTel, in partnership with Google, plans to rollout its high-speed RailWire Wi-Fi to 100 more stations by the end of next year. That’s according to an announcement earlier this week by the Minister of Railways in the country, Mr. Suresh Prabhu, who declared that the number of stations with the free, high-speed Wi-Fi would be doubled in 2017. Working in association with the Indian Railways, the Google-RailTel partnership has already been able to launch the project in 100 railway stations in the country, with the southern town of Ooty, Tamil Nadu, becoming the 100th city to get the free Wi-Fi when the project was formally launched at the Udhagamandalam railway station a few days before Christmas.
Back in October 2014, the American tech giant had announced its plans to roll out free high-speed internet to 400 of the busiest railway stations in India as part of the federal government’s Digital India initiative, although, the project only got off the ground in January this year. Since then, 100 railway stations have been hooked up to the free Wi-Fi, starting off with the Mumbai Central Station in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Commuters using the service have free Wi-Fi access for the first 30 minutes, although they do have to pay if their usage exceeds the time limit. The project is believed to be the largest of its kind in the country, bringing free internet access to an estimated 10 million commuters on a daily basis.
People wanting to use the free Wi-Fi can do it literally with just the one tap, thanks to various apps that allow users to connect to public Wi-Fi networks easily. Apps like WiFire, Free WiFi and Swift WiFi are just some of the apps that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store for the purpose, but while all of the ones listed above are accessible from India, some of them come with geo-restrictions and are not available in many other regions around the world. Users can also login to RailWire Wi-Fi through a 5-step authentication process that involves submitting their phone numbers to the service provider to get an OTP (One Time Password) that can then be used to log in to the service.