Indian Rail Minister, Piyush Goyal, confirmed today that the government will push ahead with plans to put WiFi services in Indian trains over the next few years. He also said that the government is planning to provide free WiFi service in over 6,000 railway stations in India.
Once the project to provide WiFi at stations across subcontinent has been completed, the government says it will start to roll out WiFi on board the trains themselves. Mr Goyal said the service will be free to passengers. He went on to state that the services should be up and running by the middle of 2024.
In a statement the Rail Minister, who is also the national Minister for Commerce and Industry, explained that WiFi on trains is a more complex proposition. He said, “It is a more complicated technology subject. Giving WiFi in running trains requires investment... Towers need to be put and there has to be equipment inside trains.”
Goyal also maintained that adding WiFi to the trains will help in maintaining security inside the train compartments by the addition of CCTV. This will be linked from the trains to police monitoring stations.
The effort to provide on-board WiFi is being backed up by Indian Railways and RailTel’s recent decision to install a vast trackside LTE-R network. According to IR, this will mainly be used to facilitate better signalling, train control and communications, but will also be used to deliver high-speed WiFi to its trains. In mid-March 2019, the company published the tender material on its website for four phases of construction which will eventually covering 64,000km of track
According to the Minister, WiFi is currently available at around 5,150 railway stations in the country. This will be increased to 6,500 by the end of next year.
On-train WiFi services, trackside networks, the growing market for passenger WiFi and on-board entertainment will be the main subjects of BWCS’s WiFi on Trains Conference next June. For information on speaking and sponsorship opportunities at the 2020 event, please contact Ross.Parsons@BWCS.com .
The 2019 conference (www.Traincomms2019.com ) was sponsored by Icomera, Nomad Digital, Fluidmesh, RADWIN and BAI Communications.