Google Bringing Free Wi-Fi to Train Stations in India

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Key tech announcements from Modi’s US visit: Wi-Fi for Indian Railways, broadband for villages and more.

RailTel Corporation of India, a PSU under the Ministry of Railways, said that it has partnered with Google to set up a high-speed Wi-Fi network at 400 stations across the country.

As a part of this engagement, Mumbai Central is the first station where the Wi-Fi design prototype is being set up and validated and is expected ready for public use by mid October, RailTel said in a statement. Among the prominent announcements from Modi’s Silicon Valley visit are: According to a recent report released by the United Nations Broadband Commission titled, ‘The State of Broadband’ report prior to the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development said that India slipped in global rankings on broadband penetration. While many may argue that it is the Government’s responsibility to provide an effective and affordable access to broadband internet, the fact remains that India is now behind countries such as Syria and Sudan in terms of internet penetration.

The Wi-Fi will be a high-speed network capable of delivering HD video streaming services and passengers will be able to download a movie in 4 minutes before they embark on long journeys, it added. “Railway stations being places of human aggregation of all sections of society are ideal places to bridge the digital divide. During PM Modi’s visit to the Google campus during the Code for India hackathon 2015, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that Google would be partnering with Indian Railways to provide high-speed broadband internet connectivity at 500 Indian railway stations. With high penetration of smartphones, the station Wi-Fi could become locations where people can get initiated into experiencing broadband and digital literacy,” said A. Pichai stressed that these connections would enable streaming of high definition video content, stressing that they would not just enable connectivity but enables consumption of high bandwidth video. The availability of high-speed connectivity can also spur the vendors in the Railway stations to offer new services and also create the possibility of building an IOT (Internet of Things) ecosystem in the Railway station paving the way for Railways to automate operations like monitoring of rolling stock, efficient use of electrical lighting systems etc., the statement added.

While Google focussed on high speed connectivity, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that Microsoft will partner with the Indian government to bring low-cost internet connectivity to 5,00,000 Indian villages. During the townhall at the Facebook HQ with CEO Mark Zuckerberg, PM Modi responded to a query on how effective the Make in India campaign would be and the ease of changing the course of things. Zuckerberg said, “Early on in our history when things weren’t really going well – we had hit a tough patch and a lot of people wanted to buy Facebook – I went and I met with Steve Jobs and he said that to reconnect with what I believed was the mission of the company, I should go visit this temple in India that he had gone to early in the evolution of Apple, when he was thinking about what he wanted his vision of the future to be.” Zuckerberg did heed the advice.

He added that seeing the way people connected in India made him believe that the world would be a better place if everyone had a stronger ability to connect.

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