New Delhi: In a landmark achievement, RailTel, a Ratna mini PSU under the Ministry of Railways, today launched the Prime Minister’s Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM-WANI) program based on the access of its public WiFi services in 100 railway stations with 2,384 WiFi access points. These stations are distributed in 22 states and include 71 stations of category A1, A and 29 stations of other categories. The list of the hundred stations is attached here with this press release.
The soft launch of these public friendly services was carried out by Shri Puneet Chawla, Chairman and Managing Director of RailTel., during a program held here today. Dr. Rajkumar Upadhyay Executive Director and Chairman of Center for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), a stand-alone telecom R&D center of DoT, Govt. from India was especially present on the occasion. To access this WiFi network, the currently Android-based mobile application named “Wi-DOT” can be used and is available on Google Play Store.
This application was developed in close collaboration with C-DOT. This method of accessing Wi-Fi via a “mobile app” would be in addition to the existing method of accessing Wi-Fi at these stations through the conventional method of selecting the RailWire Service Set Identifier ( SSID). PMWANI-based access will facilitate ease-of-use through unique know-your-customer (KYC) to avoid One-Time Password (OTP)-based authentication, every time one tries to login. use WANI-based public WiFi. The list of the hundred stations is attached here with this press release.
RailTel’s WiFi network is now spread across 6102 Rly stations across India, has 17,792 WiFi hotspots and continues to grow. Later, PM-WANI-based access to RailTel’s public Wi-Fi services would be extended to all 6102 railway stations (where Wi-Fi facility is already available) in a phased manner by the end of June 2022 ( total 1000 Stations by June 10, 3000 Stations by June 20 and all 6102 by June 30 22). WiFi, worldwide, is being adopted to complement long-term evolution (LTE)-based broadband access.
Wi-Fi hotspots occupy an important place in last mile connectivity for providing high-speed Internet access to users. PM-WANI is an ambitious program of the Government of India’s Department of Telecommunications aimed at facilitating the use and proliferating the use of broadband for the masses. CDOT designed and developed the PM-WANI framework. Small merchants can become PDOs (Public Data Offices) as last mile access service providers and take services from PDOAs (PDO aggregators) for internet and backend services (ISPs or Wi-Fi service providers ).
RailTel’s Wi-Fi network in stations serves over 1.2 million unique users/day (pre-covid). RailTel offers free Wi-Fi for the first 30 minutes at stations, beyond which paid Wi-Fi usage can be purchased through online digital channels. Speaking about this, Chairman and Managing Director Shri Puneet Chawla said, “RailTel being the most widespread integrated Wi-Fi network in the country supporting the largest number of Wi-Fi users, plays an anchor role across the PM-WANI ecosystem, through ongoing engagement with regulators and industry players, to improve the evolving framework.
RailTel will extend its Wi-Fi footprints beyond Rly stations by leveraging its partnership with over 7,000 last mile service providers to establish Wi-Fi hotspots in underserved areas. RailTel is also making continuous efforts to provide high-speed internet connectivity to more and more rural areas as part of India’s digital mission.
In this regard, Shri Dr.Rajkumar Upadhyay, Executive Director and Chairman of C-DOT, said at the event, Dr. RajKumar Upadhyay, Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of CDOT, highlighted the key role of technologies designed and developed locally to meet the specific requirements of various geography of India including rural and remote areas.
He highlighted the synergistic engagement between C-DOT and RailTel which will drive innovation leading to the design, development and deployment of indigenous technologies in national networks including Indian Railways. PM-WANI hotspots would prove effective in extending cost-effective internet to passengers at rural and remote stations across the country.
He congratulated RailTel on the launch of the prestigious PM-WANI framework and assured that C-DOT will work tirelessly to align its local telecommunications R&D efforts with RailTel’s specific requirements to achieve the ambitious national development goals. As we have signed a memorandum of understanding with RailTel, we will collaborate in many other areas.