Tamil Nadu

544 railway stations in Tamil Nadu, Kerala get high speed Wi-Fi

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Facility will help people using railway stations in small towns

Southern Railway has commissioned free Wi-Fi services at 544 railway stations in Tamil Nadu and Kerala as part of the Digitial India initiative.

The high-speed internet facility will not only serve as a value addition to passenger services, but also connect people visiting smaller stations located in rural areas in these States to the Internet.

The nationwide programme of providing free Wi-Fi at over 5,000 stations in association with Tata Trusts, Google and RailTel was expedited in the 100-day programme of Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

Southern Railway was among a few zones that achieved the target, thanks to the 4,900-km long optical fibre cable already in place.

The number of stations covered under the free Wi-Fi mission increased from 282 in March 2019 to 544 this year. Besides all major stations, the facility has been provided in almost all wayside stations that have a scheduled stoppage of trains.

The Wi-Fi services would be available at select zones on the railway station premises and passengers will have to connect to the RailWire network and enter their ten-digit mobile number for obtaining a one time password that would activate the internet service.

NMR covered

“While waiting for the train, passengers can do their office work, download a movie or e-book apart from utilising the Wi-Fi for other internet-enabled services. Provision of free high-speed internet at smaller stations located in rural pockets is to connect the people to digital technology,” Principal Chief Signal and Telecommunication Engineer, Southern Railway, S. K. Goel said. Mr. Goel said eight stations along the Mettupalayam-Ooty Nilgiris Mountain Railway were covered under the programme to facilitate tourists access internet in the heritage route.

“We are happy that the facility is helping people other than railway passengers. There are many success stories where the Wi-Fi brought about a change in the lives of those who could not have accessed high-speed internet otherwise. For instance, Helen Jose, an autorickshaw driver of Kollam, downloads study material for her school-going son almost everyday while waiting for passengers.”

K. Sreenath, a railway porter at Ernakulam, used Wi-Fi regularly to download study materials and he cleared a competitive exam with 82 per cent score.”

While providing access to the internet was a passenger service and a social obligation, the mission was vulnerable to abuse. RailTel would store the data of users for at least six months. “We will storing the digital footprints and also the closed-circuit television footage that covers the Wi-Fi access areas. The data would be useful in the event of a case of cybercrime reported on railway premises using the free internet facility,” he said.

At a review meeting chaired by the Southern Railway General Manager John Thomas last week, communication engineers revealed that the number of internet users per day was approximately 61,000 and the number was expected to double in the days to come. The existing bandwidth of 33.54 Gbps would be enhanced depending on the requirement, railway sources said.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 10:57:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/544-railway-stations-in-tamil-nadu-kerala-get-high-speed-wi-fi/article30100788.ece

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