23 January 2016


[Explained][Hot][Awsome]What Is Google Wifi At 100 Stations And How It Works?

RailTel has announced the launch of free high-speed public Wi-Fi service in partnership with Google at Mumbai Central Railway Station. Google had announced its plans to bring high-speed Wi-Fi to 400 Indian railway stations during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Google HQ in Mountain View, California.

Google plans to extend the service quickly to cover 100 of the busiest stations by the end of this year. The project will eventually cover 400 railway stations across India.

With Railwire Wi-Fi service, the travelers will be able to easily stream high definition video while they are waiting. Google says users of its public Wi-Fi service can save videos offline on its YouTube app for viewing during the journey.

Our intent was to fulfill Indian Railway’s vision of providing Railway passengers access to high speed Internet through our Optical fiber communication network. Affordable smartphones have made it possible for the common men to experience the power of Internet. With our partnership with Google, we are very confident of rolling out a robust, scalable service at Railway stations in the near future,” SAID R.K Bahuguna, Chairman and Managing Director, Railtel.

We’re delighted to launch India’s first high speed public Wi-Fi service in partnership with Indian Railways. Bringing affordable Internet access to millions of people is an important part of making the Internet both easily accessible and useful for more than 300 million Indians who are already online, and the nearly one billion more who are not,” SAID RAJAN ANANDAN, VP and Managing Director, Google India.

The free public Wi-Fi service will be available in Allahabad, Patna, Jaipur and Ranchi shortly.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai had first announced about the the company’s free WiFi at railway stations in India when PM Modi had visited the company campus in Mountain View, California in September. Under the project, Google plans to provide free and high-speed Wi-Fi access to railway commuters at over 400 stations in India. Google has partnered with Railtel Corporation to make this project a reality.

How’s the project going to scale out? Which stations will get covered?

According to Google’s announcement today, the first station to get free Wi-Fi under this scheme will be Mumbai Central, where testing has already been carried out. Google’s free Wi-Fi at Mumbai Central goes live by January, 2016. Google plans to make free Wi-Fi live at over 100 stations in India by the end of 2016. The free Wi-Fi scheme will target stations across each railway zone in India.

At the end of 2016, Google will evaluate the project to see how it will expand the free Wi-Fi scheme further. Google says that preparations are already on in multiple stations to make the project a reality.

So how exactly will Google’s free Wi-Fi work? Why has it partnered with RailTel?

Railtel is the PSU which owns a Pan-India optic fiber network exclusively on railway track. It has laid out over 45,000 kms of optic fibre networks across the country, which Google will utilise for its Wi-Fi.

In this case, Railtel will be the ISP, while Google will provide the Wireless Area Networks (WAN) and will set-up the points of access at platforms. It should be noted that Google’s free WiFi will only work at the platforms and is not meant for the trains.

Will Google have some guidelines, standards for this free public WiFi?

Google says the idea with its free WiFi is to ensure wide coverage and high capacity. According to Google VP for Access and Emerging Markets Marian Croak, the company sees a potential of 10 million users accessing its WiFi each day by the end of 2016 from across these railway stations. And Google wants to make sure that these 10 million users get broadband quality experience when using its Wi-Fi.

For instance, Google will try and ensure that the WiFi railway users who watch videos on the network get at least HD standard streaming. Google will also aim to maintain speed, efficiency across a board of devices.

Will the service always be free? What’s the revenue model here for Google?

Google says that the service will be free to begin with, although it has not yet specified whether it will eventually charge for this WiFi. It should be noted that free WiFi in other public places like airports is free for a limited time period only. On the revenue model, Google hopes that this will be self-sustainable and it will start exploring with different revenue models later on. For now the focus will be on getting the project up and running.