Facebook to set up Wi-Fi at rural Indian railway stations

Social media giant Facebook may tie up with the Indian Railways to set up Wi-Fi services at railway stations across India, according to a report by ET. The information comes in months after Google launched its own free Wi-Fi at select locations in the country.

A statement given by Indian Railways’ communication wing RailTel chairman RK Bahuguna quoted him saying that Facebook had approached them to be able to bring Wi-Fi to rural India. The partnership will try to offer connectivity not just to the railway stops but also to surrounding villages.

Facebook Free Basics

RailTel already has the infrastructure to install Wi-Fi hotspots across 4000 railway stations throughout the country in place. Taking Facebook’s initiative, the company will attempt to extend network in a 10 kilometer radius from the station using additional access points. The range will increase to around 25 kilometers thereafter. The aim will be to target smaller and mostly ignored areas where internet is not widely available.

Facebook denied giving a comment on the story. It was recently in the news for testing its Express Wi-Fi service that sets up hotspots in areas without data range. This was a step ahead from its first idea of Free Basics to provide internet to India.

Also See: Facebook testing Express Wifi service in India

Google had collaborated with RailTel to set up free Wi-Fi zones at select railway stations. Its offering is attempting to cover 100 stops by the end of this year and around 400 additional places eventually. As reported by ET, there are roughly 2 million people using this connectivity every month in 21 sites.