There are 8,500 stations in railways across the country including stations in rural and remote areas. Free Wi-Fi facility will be installed on the stations. The project has an estimated cost of INR 700 crore or USD 110 million. Indian Railways has already installed Wi-Fi services at 216 prime stations in India as a part of India’s ambitious Digital India initiative. This has enabled seven million rail passengers to use internet during their waiting times at the stations. Internet has become a utility rather than a commodity; one cannot deny its importance in day to day working. That is why seniors at Railway Ministry have decided to bring free internet service at all the stations.
The plan has been finalized after final meeting. According to the plan there are 1,200 stations which are in urban location and Wi-Fi will be available only to rail passengers there. While about 7,300 have been shortlisted to not only cater to passengers but also to local people in rural and remote places.
Providing Wi-Fi facility at stations in rural and remote areas and their local population is a part of rural India’s promotion of e-governance. This is all to make India digital.
Kiosks will be installed at the stations in rural areas. The kiosks will be connected to internet and will allow the local population to generate Aadhar, Internet banking, issuance of government certificates (birth and death certificates too), and file tax & pay bills.
Also, people can use the kiosks to order and receive items from e-commerce portals like Amazon, Flipkart etc.For the proper operation of these kiosks private participation from the public will also be taken. The modus operandi of the installation of these digital hotspots is yet being talked about with the Telecom Ministry.
Railways have given a provisional timeline that 600 stations will get the Wi-Fi facility by March, 2018 and complete 8,500 stations will get Wi-Fi services by March, 2019. The primary objective of the project is to connect more and more people to the rail Wi-Fi system. Wi-Fi broadband access to rail users will assist in implementation of Digital India initiative.