September 12, 2015
Indian Railways partners with Google Fiber to provide free WiFi across 400 railway stations - Project Nilgiri
Indian Railways and Google has joined forces to create India’s largest network of free WiFi across 400 railway stations, pan India under the codename of ‘Project Nilgiri’. To start with, Google has collaborated with RailTel for the platform and infrastructure of the project. The project that will run on Google’s Fiber Technology, which itself is still in pilot stage(phase 1). As and when it will be implemented will give users access to high speed internet for the first 30 minutes and thereafter the speed will drop and become slow. The connection of the users will however still be active. The project will be completed in phases. However there is no official date given by the railways as to when it will commence. Project Nilgiri is a step closer to the fulfillment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India drive.
Wi-Fi connectivity will be made available for free to passengers after mobile number verification through a one-time password sent over SMS. This definitely looks to be a very interesting initiative. Currently, companies like MTS and Oxygen provide Wi-Fi connectivity at railway and metro stations in urban regions but this is sporadic and not Pan India, the endeavour by Google will change this completely. At present, Indian railways provides Wi-Fi connectivity in moving trains for select routes like Rajdhani express using satellite communication technology. In phase 2, Google plans to provide Wi-Fi in moving trains, Pan India.
This seems to be a rather exciting project and since it’s undertaken by Google, India inevitably have high hopes.Currently, the download speeds are somewhere in the 7Mbps range while upload speeds are in 5 Mbps range. In a month or two WLC’s (Wireless LAN Controllers) will be set up in Mumbai and Chennai after which latency for network speed will fall to 1-2 ms and speeds will increase. So India is looking forward to this welcome move.