Google Railtel: Quality Public Wi-Fi
Over 50% of users access the internet multiple times in a day-highlights regular usage by users who work of pursue their occupation from the train station
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Blistering speed for free
Imagine getting 26 Mbps speed that too for free at a railway station. That was exactly my experience at the Dibrugarh railway station, the last of the 400 railway stations covered under the project of providing high-speed public Wi-Fi to public at railway stations.
Free Public Wi-Fi
Launched as a key initiative under government's Digital India program by RailTel in partnership with Google, the project was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Google CEO, Sundar Pichai in January 2016. Google designed and deployed the wireless infrastructure on top of fiber optical network in the station created by RailTel.
According to K. Suri, Director, Partnership, India, Next Billion Users, Google India, said, "Bringing high-speed connectivity to millions of Indians across train station, has been an incredible journey and underscores the importance of investing in public Wi-Fi as a crucial step in getting high quality internet to everyone in India. With over 8 million monthly unique users connecting to the network this is a lighthouse project for India and every growing economy that is looking to bring the benefit of connectivity to everyone in their country.
Google leverages on the nation-wide optic fiber network backbone created by Railtel and provides the end user experience.
The initial partnership between Google and Railtel is for 5 years
For the first 30 Mins is provided for free after that the connection is slowed down to avoid abuse
In terms of adoption, the service already has close to 8 million monthly active users
The capacity of each station is 1 Gig
Google Station technology deployed on Railtel network
In times of cheap data from mobile operators, how will they compete? According to Google Railtel, they have fared well. Within thirty minutes of free access to the internet, a user on an average consumes 350 MB of data per session. While the majority of the users are in the 19-34 age group, efforts to help older and first time users of the internet with on-ground support staff has helped millions of users experience the internet for the first time.
Over 35% of users on the network are first time Wi-Fi users. Over 50% of users access the internet multiple times in a day-highlights regular usage by users who work of pursuing their occupation from the train station.
The Last Word
Even in times of cheap data from mobile operators, a more pertinent question is of free public Wi-Fi and easy accessibility to the internet for the public. Ironically our best airports have less than a functional Wi-Fi and railway stations have these amazing double-figure speeds. Google Railtel partnership is also a good example of synergy between the public and private partnership. Google has done an excellent job of utilizing the Railtel fibre optic and bringing an experience that can rival the best in the world.
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