Making good on their promise, Google has completed installing their Wi-Fi service at 100 railway stations across India, the latest addition to the list being Udhagamandalam in Ooty.
Google, in collaboration with the Indian Railways and RailTel, had announced the project to provide Wi-Fi service in 400 Indian railway stations in September 2015.
Almost 10 million people, who use these stations, now can access the internet while travelling.
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After PM Modi’s visit to Google’s US Headquarters, Sundar Pichai said, “Working with Indian Railways and RailTel, which provides internet services via its extensive fibre network along many of these railway lines, our Access & Energy team plans to cover 100 of the busiest stations in India before the end of 2016, with the remaining stations following in quick succession.”
Internet penetration in India has been a worry for the dream of Digital India for some time now. Google’s partnership with the Indian Railways is a boon for numerous travellers who’re now able to access hi-speed internet without worrying about costs incurred.
It’s also an added advantage for those marred by slow network connectivity and wishes to know more about their next destination while waiting for their train to arrive or just want to download a game or an ebook for their journey.
Google is also inviting other corporations to partner with them to take this initiative forward.
“We’re really excited about reaching this milestone, and it is an incredible feeling to look back and see how far we’ve come since we announced that we were partnering with Indian Railways and RailTel to provide Wi-Fi at 400 railway stations throughout the country,” said Gulzar Azad, Country Head – Connectivity, Google India.
Google Wi-Fi’s Triumph in India
Google Wi-Fi has completed 25% of its target within the stipulated time and plans to roll this service to the rest of the stations as soon as possible.
One of the earliest stations to receive Google Wi-Fi service, Jaipur railway station, has a story of its own where Bhagwan Sahay visits the station every few days to access the internet service.
“I stop there for a few minutes, download apps, update them and get things my daughter wants. She is in 10th grade and uses my smartphone in the evenings to fulfil her educational needs. She also teaches her mother to read and write using my smartphone,” says Bhagwan Sahay.
This is just one of many stories inspired by Google Wi-Fi service across India.
India is home to 1.25 billion people, and we’re growing every day in number. The Internet is a key element in our evolution, and this initiative will surely expose people, who already aren’t, to the internet.
“But what has really inspired us are the stories of how people are using this high-speed access to the full and open Internet. They’re using Railwire Wi-Fi to be more productive with their time and to get things done more efficiently,” Gulzar Azad added.
According to the company, the service currently connects 5 million users to the internet o a monthly basis, with over 15000 first time users adding to the network every day.
Indian Railways is the most extensively used railway network in the world, by people from all walks of life and to be able to provide them with internet facilities for free is a right foot forward towards creating digital literacy in India.