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Blog Entry# 3507398
Posted: Jun 09 (07:19)

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Jun 09 (07:19)   Google-RailTel completes 400th high-speed Internet project - INFO-TECH - Business Line

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Entry# 3507398   News Entry# 340256         Tags   Past Edits
Google-RailTel completes 400th high-speed Internet projectShobha RoyT+T- MilestoneFree Wi-Fi service rolled out by RailTel and Google at Dibrugarh railway stationShobha royShobha roy
8 million people use the public Wi-Fi serviceDibrugarh (Assam), June 7Twenty-two year old Humayun Noor comes to the Guwahati railway station almost every night to download study materials and Bollywood movies. The third year student of Cotton College situated less than a km away from the railway station, relies more on the free Wi-Fi access available at the station than his mobile data which fails him at the hour of need.“I have Jio connection, but sometimes it doesn’t work too well at all places. So I come to the railway station preferably at nights and download whatever I need,” Noor
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toldBusinessLine.Krishna Sharma, a magazine vendor on the Guwahati station is glad that he can use the Wi-Fi during his leisure time to watch movies.“Earlier I used to get rather bored when there was no flow of trains at the station. But now I watch movies or listen to songs using the Wi-Fi. I have also downloaded several apps of Indian Railways to get accurate information on train schedules which I use to update myself and also assist passengers,” he said.Humayun and Krishna are among those 8 million odd people who actively use the public Wi-Fi service on a monthly basis, provided under “RailWire” — a joint project by Google and State-owned telecom infrastructure provider RailTel Corporation.According to K Manohar Raja, Executive Director, Enterprise Business, RailTel, the project, which was to be rolled out in 400-odd stations across the country by the end of 2018, is complete well ahead of schedule.“Under this partnership with Google we have covered 400 stations under A and A1 categories. We would now be looking to roll out similar service in B and C category stations as well. We will initiate discussions soon,” he said while rolling out the service at Dibrugarh — the 400th station thereby completing the mandate.Demand in Tier-II townsThere are close to 700 stations in B and C category and RailTel is looking to come up with an RFP (request for proposal) shortly to select a partner.Though mobile data has become more affordable in the country over the past one year, however, that has not impacted the demand and usage of free Wi-Fi, said K Suri, Director, Partnerships, India, Next Billion Users, Google India.“There is a huge appetite for data, particularly from Tier II towns. Despite mobile data becoming more affordable there is still hunger to use Wi-Fi,” Suri said.According to Google, while 36 per cent are first time users, nearly 50 per cent access internet multiple times a day. Close to two-thirds of the users belong to the age group of 19-34.While currently the revenue model is largely dependent on the streaming of advertisements, they are exploring other avenues such as mobile data offloads (routing of data away from cellular networks to their Wi-Fi network) and introducing paid Wi-Fi as possible source of generating income.Exploring more avenuesAs 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.The company has already launched a pilot of its Google Station - the public Wi-Fi platform - in Pune under the Smart City project.“We are in talks with government, telecoms and ISPs. We would be keen to take this to other cities, municipalities and rural areas,” Suri said.

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