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Indian Railway WiFi Provided By Google Turns Out To Be A Big Hit

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The recently launched Google Internet for free at Indian railway stations is becoming one of the biggest hits of 2016.

indiawifi-first-10The face of Internet changing. Today, the internet represents an opportunity that can make India a digitally empowered society and a strong economy. However, even if there are 350 million Indians using internet services each day, the digital gap in India continues to remain one of the biggest challenges.

Google high-speed internet at Indian railway

Earlier in September 2015, Google announced its plan to install high-speed wifi at 400 train stations, in order to support Digital India campaign started by Narendra Modi. The Indian Railway wifi project went live in January. The first station to have google high-speed internet for free was Mumbai Central station where people enjoy free, high-speed public wifi.

Within the period of six months, Google says the service is available at 19 stations which have already been used by 1.5 million Indians.

Google’s future plan is to have free google internet at 100 of the country’s railway station.

Analysis of Indian Railway Wifi

According to Google analysis, it was found that free public wifi is in bigger demand in smaller cities as compared to those in the larger one. This is because there is poor connectivity of high-speed broadband outside of the major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, etc.

“Per capita consumption of data in tier II cities far exceeds the consumption we are seeing in tier I cities.” Google

As per Google reports, 100,000 people made use of the public wifi connection within a week of free wifi in Indian trains. Whereas in other parts of the country like Bhubaneshwar (the capital of Odisha), it didn’t even take a day to attract that many users when the service was launched.

“We are seeing similar usage patterns emerge in tier II cities like Patna, Jaipur, Vishakhapatnam.” Google

According to the claims made by Google, the Indian railway wifi is much faster than the 3G internet that is most widely used in India. On an average, users of free wifi in Indian trains utilize 15 times more data than they would consume on 3G in a day. Despite being limited to one hour of use per person per day and being in transit.

Experience of general public

Google’s assessment was validated by the comments on one of the Reddit threads.9cP6qjp

One the users said, Free public WiFi “has a time limit, not a download limit. I believe you get timed out after an hour or so. But with these speeds, you can download a hell of a lot in an hour.”

Another user said “The train stopped for only five minutes and I could not find anything big for download . When I installed some apps they got installed within around two seconds.”

The satisfied wifi users also posted some of the screenshots that showed their speedy connections.

As per Google reports, the free internet is being used by people for downloading software, checking exam results, seeking information related to educational classes, upgrading phone apps, among other purposes.

Some of the Reddit users said they also had used the Indian Railway wifi for downloading television shows, stream porn, and movies.

1.5 million people using free Wi-Fi

As per Google reports, the wifi facility has been used by almost 1.5 million people which is installed in 19 railway stations across India.

Google released a blog post revealing the progress of its WiFi project in India that was launched in January 2016, in order to celebrate the inaugural World WiFi Day by The Wireless Broadband Alliance.

Along with Railtel, the telecom department of the Indian railway network, Google is working towards providing WiFi for 10 million people at 100 train stations across India.

Gulzar Azad from Google Internal Data explains: “Even with 350 million Indians online today, the digital divide in India continues to remain a big challenge.”

Also, Google is in talks with the Indian government so as to provide WiFi to remote areas with the use of high-altitude balloons.

Recently launches by Google

Last month, Google announced the launch of its free high-speed public Wi-Fi service at Jaipur, Guwahati, Patna, Allahabad, and Ujjain.wifi

It is in continuation with the Google’s project to provide high-speed internet services at 100 Indian Railway stations by the end of this year. Google has been deploying the service over the extent fiber network of Indian Railway’s arm Railtel which provides RailWire, an Internet service.

The services by Google have been pushed with greater motivation due to the extraordinary response to tge service in Mumbai Central.

“We’re seeing incredible usage of the Wi-Fi service across the stations and over 2.5 lakhs users are using the service every week, demonstrating more than 2x growth in less than a month.” Gulzar Azad

Google has also tied up with Tata Group in order to reduce the digital gender disparity with its Internet Saathi program.

Have you ever used free Indian Railway Wifi provided by Google? What was your experience?

Image Credits: 9to5Google, tgandapnews dot com.

Sakshi is a content marketer during the day and a reader by night. She writes content sprinkled with a twisted imagination. She has done her graduation in psychology from Delhi University and has an insane love for history.
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