New Delhi: Over two crore users logged into the railway WiFi at 1,606 stations across its network in May and the facility of free internet would be extended to the remaining 4,791 stations within this year, Indian Railways' digital arm RailTel said Tuesday.
In May, the total number of user logins at the WiFi enabled stations was 2.35 crore, it said.
"The numbers speak volumes about the fact that despite having easy access to mobile internet, public WiFi is still the preferred choice of rail users at railway stations... now the WiFi service will be extended to another 4,791 stations within this year which will enable every station of Indian Railways (except the halt stations) to have a WiFi hotspot," RailTel said in a statement.
Stations in tier 1 cities like Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai registered a greater number of user logins and data consumption than their tier 2 counterparts. The Howrah station alone saw 4.9 lakh user logins in a month.
With unconstrained, free high-speed WiFi connectivity, an average user consumes 343 MB in an average 30-minute data session. This is much higher than an average 3G connection in the country which currently consumes around 30MB per user per day, the statement said.
The railways' bid to provide access to free WiFi at stations began from Mumbai Central in January 2016 and within 16 months the RailWire WiFi was live at 1,600 stations across India.
Free WiFi services to passengers are being provided under RailWire brand, the retail broadband initiative of RailTel.
"Internet in India is largely mobile internet with a high percentage of users on 2G and 3G. RailTel had sought to bridge the digital divide by providing free and fast WiFi, which also bridges the experience divide of the internet where millions of users experience fast access to internet for the first time," RailTel CMD Puneet Chawla said.
RailWire WiFi will be available to any user who has a smartphone with a working mobile connection.