The iconic Chennai Central railway station is likely to become the first station in Tamil Nadu to get Google’s wi-fi network coverage.
The tech giant’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, has selected six more railway stations in his home state for the project.
“Plans are afoot to bring the Central railway station under Google’s wifi network by March next year, making it the first station in Tamil Nadu to get the facility,” said sources in RailTel Corporation of India, with which Google has teamed up to provide wi-fi connectivity in 100 railway stations across the country.
From March 2016 onwards, the Central station, where a wi-fi facility has been under trial since September 2014, will offer a faster, one gigabytes per second Internet connectivity to commuters.
While RailTel will provide the broadband service, Google will offer access points, the sources said.
At any given point, over 6,000 people are using the station’s existing wi-fi facility. “As per our figures, during the period of one month between November 15 and December 15, about 6,500 were using the wi-fi facility at any given time,” an official said, adding that Google’s entry would be a shot in the arm for the station.
The six other stations selected for the project — Egmore, Tambaram, Arakkonam, Coimbatore, Madurai and Tiruchirappalli — will get the facility by 2016-end, said sources with RailTel, a mini-ratna enterprise functioning under the Railways.
During his visit to India last week, Chennai-born Pichai announced that 100 railway stations would have wif-fi connections by December 2016.
Google’s wi-fi facility will go live first at the Mumbai Central station, in January.