The govt plans to bring Wi-Fi hotspots to over 7,000 railway stations in the country: Report

7,000 railway stations in India have been identified as candidates for a Wi-Fi hotspot program under the ‘Railwire Saathi’ project.


7,000 railway stations in India have been identified as candidates for a Wi-Fi hotspot program under the ‘Railwire Saathi’ project.

The Economic Times reports that the project aims to transform these stations into “digital hubs” for ecomemrce, digital banking, Aadhaar-related services, etc.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu told ET that these stations will be set up in rural and remote areas. He claims that the stations already have an optical fibre network in place and that these will be used for setting up the Wi-Fi kiosks. This network is owned and operated by RailTel.

Railway officials claim that the project can be implemented at 200 stations simultaneously. They also add that the project can cover over 5,000 stations and employ around 30,000 people from those areas. This can take up to two years and cost between Rs 1,500 crore and Rs 2,000 crore. These potential employees include women and youth, the official told ET.

With the aim of transforming India to a Digital India, projects such as these are eventually meant to provide last-mile connectivity to Indians.

While Google’s own project has reached over a 100 stations, with hundreds more to follow, the free internet service from the internet giant cannot be used to enable “assisted digital transactions”, the report adds.

The aim of Railwire Saathi is to enable such transactions.

Paid Wi-Fi might also be an option, with rates starting at a nominal Rs 10 for an hour’s access. Monthly plans of Rs 50 and Rs 100 will reportedly be available as well.


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