RailTel

Summary

RailTel Corporation of India Ltd. is an Indian public sector enterprise focusing on providing broadband and VPN services. RailTel was formed in September 2000 with the objective of creating a nationwide broadband, telecom and multimedia network, and to modernise train control operation and safety system of Indian Railways. It is under the ownership of Indian Railways, Ministry of Railways, Government of India. RailTel's network passes through around 5,000 stations across the country, covering all major commercial centres.[2]

RailTel Corporation of India Ltd.
TypePublic
ISININE0DD101019
IndustryTelecommunications
FoundedSeptember 2000; 21 years ago (2000-09)[1]
Headquarters143, Institutional Area, Sector-44, ,
India
Area served
India
Key people
Puneet Chawla, Chairman & Managing Director
ServicesTelepresence services, data centre services, MPLS-VPN, Internet leased line, consultancy services, signalling services, Adhaar based service
RevenueIncrease1,038 crore (US$140 million) (2019)
Increase 218 crore (US$29 million) (2019)
Increase 112 crore (US$15 million) (2019)
OwnerIndian Railways
Number of employees
730 (2019)
SubsidiariesRailTel Enterprises Limited
Websiterailtelindia.com

HistoryEdit

The Indian Railways (IR) was initially solely dependent on the Department of Telecom (now BSNL) for their control and administrative communication circuits. To increase circuit efficiency, the Railways began building up its own communication systems from early 1970s based on overhead telephone lines, quad cables and microwave signalling. In 1983, the Railway Reforms Committee decided to introduce optical fibre cable (OFC) based communications in IR to provide safety, reliability, availability and serviceability through use of a dedicated network. The decision was also taken to create a network independent of the DoT and replace the existing microwave telecom systems (60% of which had reached end of life) with OFC.

Indian Railways commissioned the first OFC on the Churchgate–Virar line in Mumbai in 1988 for train operation and control purpose, which consisted of 60 km of network across 28 stations. The network was expanded in Central India with the commissioning of 900 km of OFC network in 1991–92 across Durg–Nagpur, Nagpur–Itarsi and Itarsi–Bhusaval sections of the Howrah–Nagpur–Mumbai line, and in Eastern India with the commissioning of 60 km of OFC network in Tatanagar–Chakradhrapur section of the same line.

The second National Telecom Policy in 1999 opened the National Long-Distance segment under favourable licensing conditions with revenue sharing to assist mobile network operators to spread their networks across India. In 2000, the Government announced the formation of a telecom corporation to build a nationwide broadband multimedia telecommunication network. RailTel was established in 26 September 2000 as a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU), wholly owned by the Indian Railways.[3]

ProjectsEdit

Wi-Fi and WiMaxEdit

RailTel, in collaboration with Google, provides free WiFi access at selected railways stations across India. Google chose railway stations as the location to provide free WiFi because stations have access to reliable power supply and fibre provided by RailTel, and because the passengers at a station come from all demographics of India.[4]

The free WiFi service was launched at Mumbai Central railway station in January 2016.[5] In April 2016, the service was expanded to nine more railway stations.[6] In June 2016, Google announced that free WiFi was available across 19 stations in India and was being used by over 1.5 million people.[7]

In September 2016, Google announced a public WiFi initiative called Google Station. Google plans to expand free WiFi coverage under the initiative to locations such as cafes and malls across India, and later expand worldwide.[8]

In June 2018, Google announced that its Free Wi-Fi project was now powering 400 Indian railway stations. As a result, there were more than 8 million people accessing the internet each month via the project.[9]

The partnership between Google and Railwire ended in May 2020. Now Railwire alone provides free WiFi for 30mins at low speed and further paid plans at 34Mbps to more than 5000 railway stations in India.[10]

RailwireEdit

Based on its nationwide fibre network, RailTel offers various bandwidth intensive application to its customers. One such initiative is RailWire, a joint venture with MSPs to provide voice, video and multimedia access on a single wire at a customer's home or office.[11]

AwardsEdit

RailTel received the 12th National Awards for Excellence in Cost Management 2014.[12]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Evolution of Railtel". www.railtelindia.com. Archived from the original on 15 February 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  2. ^ "RAILTEL Celebrates its Annual Day". Press Information Bureau, Indian government. 18 October 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  3. ^ Rural Broadband Connectivity Provider in India | RailTel
  4. ^ "Google teams up with RailTel to give free Wifi to all railway stations in India". India Live Today. 30 July 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  5. ^ Mumbai Central gets Google's Wi-Fi network – The Hindu
  6. ^ "Google, RailTel expand free WiFi reach, cover 9 more stations". Business Standard. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  7. ^ "1.5 million Indians enjoy high Speed Wi-Fi across 19 Railway Stations". Official Google India Blog. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  8. ^ Byford, Sam (27 September 2016). "Google Station is a new platform that aims to make public Wi-Fi better". The Verge. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  9. ^ "Free WiFi Service: Google's free WiFi now available at 400 Indian Railways stations". The Economic Times.
  10. ^ "Google ends its free WiFi service at Indian railway stations - The Hindu". The Hindu. 21 February 2020.
  11. ^ "RailTel to tie up with MSOs to expand internet base in rural T.N." The Hindu. Chennai, India. 25 November 2013.
  12. ^ "Railway PSU – "RailTel" Bags 12th National Awards for Excellence in Cost Management 2014". Press Information Bureau of India. Retrieved 19 July 2015.