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Indian Railways set to become net savvy

The state-run RailTel Corp of India Ltd has carried out Wi-Fi connectivity tests on a few trains.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2007 09:07 IST

You can travel by train in India and still remain connected with some long-distance trains set to get Wi-Fi connectivity.

Premier trains like the Rajdhani Express and the Shatabdi Express and even the Jan Shatabdi Express will be the first ones to be provided with the facility, officials of the Mumbai-headquartered Western Railway said.

The state-run RailTel Corp of India Ltd has carried out Wi-Fi connectivity tests on a few trains.

"The tests have proved that passengers will experience seamless connectivity on running trains. Considering the revenue it will yield, the project is being given top priority," said Satya Prakash, divisional railway manager of Western Railway.

Apart from enabling passengers to stay connected on moving trains, RailTel also plans to provide Wi-Fi connectivity at select railway stations to allow commuters to work on laptops and palmtops.

"Important stations in Mumbai like Chhattrapti Shivaji Terminus, Churchgate, Mumbai Central and Dadar will be among the first in the country to become Wi-Fi enabled," said Prakash.

A RailTel source said: "RailTel will provide Wi-Fi connectivity at 500 stations. In addition, call centres would be set up at 14 stations by the year-end to provide quick information services about the arrival and departures of trains and the reservation status by simply dialling 139."

"We will soon be short-listing the trains and stations where Internet service would be made available."

RailTel will also be setting up local area network (LAN) to provide Wi-Fi connectivity within stations. It is also looking at providing Wi-Fi connectivity to tourists visiting small towns through the LAN.

"A wireless LAN will be created in the coaches through transmitters placed inside them. Besides, a roof-mounted antenna would catch the signal from towers which are being set up at railway stations," he said.

RailTel also plans to set up 250 cyber cafes at railway stations across India. It already operates nine fully air-conditioned cyber cafés offering Internet browsing, Internet telephony, video-conferencing and audio-video chatting.