Indian Railways internet service arm Railtel and internet giant Google on Friday launched free high-speed public wi-fi service at nine railway stations across India.
"After the first launch at Mumbai Central, starting today (Friday), users in Pune, Bhubaneshwar, Bhopal, Ranchi, Raipur, Vijayawada, Kacheguda (Hyderabad), Ernakulum Junction (Kochi) and Vishakhapatnam will be able to access the network using their smartphones for free," said a joint statement.
"Travellers passing through these stations will now be able to easily stream a high definition video while they are waiting, research their destination, download a book or a new game for their journey," it added.
The service built over Railtel's fibre network will be formally launched by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu soon.
In association with Indian Railways and Railtel, Google aims to spread the high speed wi-fi service across 100 of India's busiest railway stations by the end of 2016 to enable 10 million people access internet, and eventually spread the scheme to 400 stations.
"As internet adoption grows in India, easy and affordable access to high-speed networks is the real need of the hour. But our real hope is that this project will set new benchmarks," said Google's Gulzar Azad while Railtel chairman R.K. Bahuguna said the long term goal of the wi-fi service is to make it self-sustainable.
"And while the service will be free for a reasonable amount of time, our long-term goal is to make this project self-sustainable to allow for expansion to more stations and places in the future," he said.