The Indian Railways has decided to provide free Wi-Fi facility at all its stations, except at halt stations, without involving any expenditure on the national carrier's account, Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain said on Wednesday.
Against the target for provision of Wi-Fi at 100 stations in 2016-17, 200 stations in 2017-18 and 500 stations in 2018-19, 707 stations have been provided with Wi-Fi facility as on date, he said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.
The cost of providing Wi-Fi facility at "A1" and "A" category stations (high footfall stations), where RailTel has entered into an agreement with MIIPL, is shared by RailTel and MIIPL, Gohain said.
RailTel has been advised to follow revenue sharing model for "B" and "C" category stations as well. The Department of Telecommunication has been approached to provide funds under the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) for Wi-Fi at "D" and "E" category stations, the minister said.
Last month, Google and RailTel announced that they had completed the rollout of RailWire free public Wi-Fi service at 400 railway stations, with Dibrugarh in Assam becoming the 400th station to go live.
As part of the Next Billion Users initiative, Google is now building on the success of RailTel project to expand the public Wi-Fi outside train stations, into Indian cities and around the world.