Ahead of the March-2018 deadline that the Centre has targeted to make 600 railway stations across the country Wi-Fi enabled, RailTel Corporation of India, in tandem with Google, is on a war-footing to extend free Internet access to 54 'A' and 'B' category stations under the six divisions of South Central Railway.
Wi-Fi facilities are available at 216 stations in the country at present. The project to bring stations under SCR under this ambit, kicked off in 2016-17 fiscal when five 'A1' class stations - Hyderabad, Kacheguda, Secunderabad, Tirupati and Vijayawada - got the Wi-Fi facility.
SCR has 31 'A' category stations, from where the revenues each year hover between Rs 8 crore and Rs 60 crore. Of these, 15 stations are equipped with Wi-Fi. Among these are Anakapalle, Aurangabad, Eluru, Kazipet junction, Guntur junction, Nellore, Rajahmundry, Tenali junction, Bhimavaram Town, Warangal and Kakinada Town, to name a few. Now, SCR is hoping to install Wi-Fi in the remaining 16 stations, including Anantapur, Cuddapah, Gudur junction, Guntakal junction, Nagarsol, Nizamabad, Ongole and Raichur among others in the first phase.
There are 38 'B' category stations under SCR, which earn between Rs 4 crore and Rs 8 crore annually. Passengers commuting through stations like Begumpet, Adilabad, Bidar, Lingampally, Machilipatnam, Mahboobnagar, Mahbubabad, Nalgonda, Gooty junction, Narsapur, Nandyal, Kamareddi and Chittor etc. are still waiting for Wi-Fi facility.
Officials say all these stations will be Wi-Fi enabled within a year. For now, they are focused on implementing the project in 'A' category stations. – TOI