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Bridging the Digital Divide: Free Wi-Fi Internet facilities provided at 381 stations over Northeast Frontier Railway

Indian Railways has been in the forefront of implementing Digital Initiatives realizing the dream of Digital India. Information technology-oriented passenger applications/amenities like National Train Enquiry System (NTES) and the Passenger Reservation System (PRS) have been revolutionizing the passenger travel experience. Now, Indian Railways is forging ahead with providing access to Internet Facility to the passengers through its Wi-Fi Network Connectivity/ facility at Railway Stations.

In a major public friendly measure, 381 stations over Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) have been equipped with free high speed Wi-Fi Internet Connectivity so far making around 4239.13 Route KMs of Northeast Frontier Railway covered with OFC (Optical Fibre Cable).

In Katihar Division- 81 stations, Alipurduar Division- 64 stations, RangiyaDivision- 78 stations, Tinsukia Division- 47 stations, Lumding Division- 111 stations have been equipped with Wi-Fi facility under NFR. This zone serves railway service over all northeastern states and West Bengal and Bihar. 32 stations of Bihar, 102 stations of West Bengal, 218 stations of Assam, 20 stations of Tripura, 3 stations of Nagaland, 1 station of Meghalaya, 4 stations of Arunachal Pradesh, 1 station of Mizoram so far have been provided with Wi-Fi facility.

The number of users of Wi-Fi facilities in these stations is steadily increasing. This project has been taken up as a mission of turning Railway Stations into hubs of digital inclusion.

The responsibility to implement this remarkable Digital India initiative has been entrusted to Railway Mini Ratna PSU "RAILTEL". Working tirelessly and continuously, RAILTEL is providing state of the art public Wi-Fi under the brand name of Railwire. RailTel has so far commissioned this facility at more than 6070 stations across India.

NFR from time to time keeps launching awareness campaigns for promoting this facility through videos and messages o­n social media, regular announcements, hoarding and banners at stations, Northeast Frontier Railway has been promoting the usage of Wi-Fi facility by the Rail Users and Passengers through various media platform.

Railway Stations are places where cross-section of the society converges. The quickening pace of modernisation and manifold increase in smart phone usage has triggered a ‘Digital India’ revolution.Envisaged in 2015 Rail Budget, the project of providing free Wi-Fi Internet facility at stations aims to bring free Wi-Fi access to railway stations across India.

Students, especially UPSC, RRB, RRC & SSC aspirants from remote locations with limited access to internet, use the station Wi-Fi facilities for their preparations.

These initiatives of Indian Railway and RailTel have paved the way for the common Indian Railway Traveller to reap the benefits of Digital Technology. Truly ensuring that Digital India is happening where it really matters – On Stations of Indian Railways where the public can have free access to Technology through RailWire’s Wi –Fi.

(Guneet Kaur)

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