Free Wi-Fi services are now available at over 6,000 railway stations across the country. The benefits are open to the general public free of cost for the first half an hour of any day and subsequently chargeable.
In a written reply in Rajya Sabha, Union Minister of Railways, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology, Ashwini Vaishnaw said that the provision of Wi-Fi at railway stations facilitates commuters accessing the internet while at the stations, according to PIB.
Contribution Towards Digital India Initiative
"Wi-Fi at these 6071 railway stations is helping the public to avail online services/information, thereby contributing towards Digital India initiative of the BJP government," he said.
The total data usage on these stations is of the order of 97.25 Terabytes per month approximately.
Ministry of Railways has sanctioned no separate funds for this scheme. Funds amounting to Rs 27.22 crores have been approved by the Department of Telecom (DoT) under the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) to provide Wi-Fi services at 193 Railway stations in rural areas.
Wi-Fi services at 1287 Railway stations (mainly A1 and A category stations) are being provided by M/s RailTel Corporation of India Limited (RCIL). In the remaining stations, Wi-Fi services have been provided under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)/Charity projects of various firms for which no capital expenditure is incurred.
The railways provided Wi-Fi facility first time in the country at the Mumbai Railway station in 2016. According to the government, the facility meets the objectives of the aspiring Digital India' programme and bridge the digital divide between the rural and urban population thereby increasing the digital footprint in the rural villages and also enhance the user experience.