Facebook, RailTel In Talks For Free Wi-Fi At Railway Stations

After Google, social media giant Facebook intends to offer free Wi-Fi at Indian railway stations. RK Bahuguna, chairman of Indian Railways’ communications arm RailTel, informed reporters that company would start talks with Facebook for expanding its Wi-Fi coverage to railway stations and villages in the vicinity.

“Facebook India has approached us for the Wi-Fi initiative. We will engage with the company for the expansion of our Internet access program across railways stations to cover villages in the vicinity,” ET report quoted Bahuguna as saying.

Also Read: Facebook Plans Expansion Of ‘Express Wi-Fi’ In Rural India

Earlier, Google revealed that close to 1.5 million people were using the free Wi-Fi provided by them at 19 railways stations in India. The company expects over 10 million Indians to use its free Wi-Fi service at railways stations by the end of 2016.

RailTel has a readily available optic fibre-based network across some 4,000 railway stations in the country. The state run company is currently rolling out Railwire-branded WiFi hotspots in partnership with Internet search major Google and aims to connect at least 100 railway stations with data network by the year end.

Facebook also recently concluded a set of pilot internet services across 125 rural locations after purchasing bandwidth from Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL).

It is to be noted that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s ambitious project was badly hit due to the net neutrality controversy and the company had to drop plans in India. After the project went in the cold storage, the Facebook announced another initiative called OpenCellular, an open source wireless platform that was aimed at improving wireless connectivity in remote areas. Now with the free Wi-Fi initiative, the company seems reviving its project in the country by bring internet connectivity via Wi-Fi hotspots.

Leave a Response