Internet to reach 7,700 railway stations in India soon

More than seven thousand railway station in India’s hinterland will have internet connectivity soon. Indian Railways has undertaken a one of it’s kind of digital drive to cover more than 7,700 rural railway stations in the country with wi-fi.

Many urban stations under A and A1 category already have wi-fi. RailTel Corporation of India (RailTel), a subsidiary of Indian Railways, has invited tenders for covering 7,700 stations in the D, E and F categories. It has a total of 8,500 stations across the country.

Estimates peg the public wi-fi market in India to be upwards of $10 billion by 2020, compared to the $34 billion globally. The tender is likely to catch the interest of companies Google, Facebook, Airtel and Reliance Jio. The bids have been called on a reverse auction model, where prices will decrease as the sellers underbid one another to obtain business from the buyer.

In 2016, Google set up wi-fi hotspots in 400 A1 and A category stations for RailTel. The advertisement sales revenue from such wi-fi spots could be as high as $2.5 billion by 2020.  Advertising is the way companies providing wi-fi earn revenue as they provide internet for free.

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