RailTel (Telecom unit owned by the Indian Railways) is the first organization in the world to have deployed Cloud-based Data Centers in the country on commercial terms. With the formation of RailTel, the Indian Railways has been able to lay, first of its kind, Optical Fiber Communication system across the country.
Along with Google, RailTel started setting up free Wi-Fi hotspots at major railway stations across the country. The goal is to provide free wifi to 400 major railway stations in the country. More than 100 stations have been covered so far and the work is going on at a good pace.
The free WiFi services were first launched in Mumbai Central Station followed by other major stations in cities of Andhra Pradesh, C’garh, Delhi etc. In a big city like Mumbai, there are other major stations like CST, LTT, Kalyan Junction etc which already have these services in place.
Being a user of this WiFi, I would say that the internet speed is very good. You have to put in the OTP every single time when you connect to Railwire. At times this becomes tedious. Other than that, the overall user experience is very good.
Apart from providing WiFi at major stations in big cities, Indian Railways have started focusing on setting up WiFi hotspots at railway stations in remote locations. The purpose is to help people access different online services and also help them know about different government schemes.
It is called Railwire Saathi, which will function as a small booth for people to unlock the numerous possibilities and services using the internet. It intends to provide connectivity to the people who aren’t yet connected, as well as provide jobs in these rural areas.
Google is playing a major role in this initiative taken by the Indian Railways. More than 500 stations in the rural areas will be covered in this which will provide free internet as well as job opportunities.
This will be a WiFi entrepreneurship model where jobless youths will be educated and trained to set up a WiFi hotspot and make a platform to give way to online services which will help with their business. This scheme will be executed at all rural stations across the country in the future.
Through Railwire Saathi, people of rural areas, who are generally not aware of all the government schemes that are intended to help them, will be made aware. Also, these people would be able to access these services easily.
Youths who are interested in being a Railwire Saathi should contact RailTel for necessary training. The training will be approved by the National Skill Development Council (NSDC). A certificate will be given at the end of the training by RailTel which will help you to get a loan under the Mudra scheme.
Using this money, youths will be able to install their own WiFi hotspots and manage them as guided by RailTel. The prime goal of Railwire Saathi will be to provide information about various government schemes.
So, not only does the Indian Railways providing free internet at railway stations, but they are also setting up a revenue model through which the unemployed youth can set up their own business and in turn create more jobs.
According to me, this is a great initiative by the Indian Railways and I fully support that.
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