In a further upgradation of passenger-friendly facilities at railway premises, RailTel has launched Prime Minister Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM-WANI) - based access of its Public WiFi services across 100 major stations including Mumbai Central, Pune and Bhubaneswar in the country.
PM-WANI-based access will facilitate ease of use through one time Know Your Customer (KYC) to avoid One Time Password (OTP) based authentication, every time one tries to use WANI based Public WiFi.
These 100 major stations having 2,384 WiFi hotspots are spread in 22 states. In order to access this WiFi network, an android based Mobile App named ‘Wi-DOT’ can be used which is available on Google Play Store. The App has been developed in closed coordination with C-DOT.
This method of accessing Wi-Fi through ‘ mobile app’ would be in addition to existing methods of accessing WiFi at these stations through the conventional method of selecting RailWire Service Set Identifier (SSID).
Talking about it, RailTel Chairman and Managing Director Puneet Chawla said, “RailTel being the most widespread integrated Wi-Fi network of country supporting the largest footfall of Wi-Fi users, is taking an anchor role in entire PM-WANI ecosystem, by continuous engagement with regulatory bodies and industry players, to enhance evolving framework."
RailTel’s WiFi network is now spread across 6,102 stations across India with a total 17,792 WiFi hotspots, and is still growing.
Later, PM-WANI based access of RailTel’s public Wi-Fi services would be extended to all 6,102 Railway Stations (where Wi-Fi facility is already available) in phased manner by the end of June 2022.
According to RailTel, the Telecom arm of the Railways, a total 1,000 stations would be provided PM-WANI by 10 June, 3,000 stations by 20 June and all 6,102 by 30 June 2022.
Chawla said, "RailTel will extend its WiFi footprints beyond railways stations by leveraging its partnership with more than 7,000 last mile service providers to establish Wi-Fi hotspots in underserved areas."
WiFi, the world over, is adopted to complement Long Term Evolution (LTE) based broadband access. WiFi hotspots hold an important place in last mile connectivity for delivery of broadband internet access to users.
PM-WANI is an ambitious programme of the Department of Telecom to facilitate ease of use and proliferate broadband usage for masses C-DOT has designed and developed the framework of PM-WANI.
The small shopkeepers can become PDOs (Public Data Offices) as last mile access service providers and take services from PDO aggregators for Internet and backend services.
RailTel’s Wi-Fi network at stations is serving more than 1.2 million unique users in a day before Covid.
Chawla said, "RailTel is also making continuous efforts in providing broadband internet connectivity to more and more rural areas as part of digital India mission.”
RailTel offers free Wi-Fi for the first 30 minutes at railway stations, beyond which paid Wi-Fi usage can be bought through online digital channels.
C-DOT Chairman Rajkumar Upadhyay, who was present on the occasion, congratulated RailTel for the launch of prestigious PM-WANI framework and assured that C-DOT will work relentlessly towards aligning its indigenous Telecom R&D endeavours with the specific requirements of RailTel for meeting the overarching objectives of national development.
Upadhyay underscored the key role of indigenously designed and developed technologies in meeting the specific requirements of diverse geography of India including rural and remote areas.
He stressed upon the synergistic engagement between C-DOT and RailTel that will spur innovation leading to design, development & amp; 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 railway stations across the country.
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