RailTel mulls cellular services on Indian trains
NEW INDIA: "At present mobile telephone facilities are being provided based on the need and availability of services in the area where the train is running," Minister of State for Railways Bandaru Dattatraya said in the Lok Sabha Thursday.
"The RailTel along with cellular service providers is examining the feasibility of utilising its optic fibre infrastructure to extend cellular services along the railway track which will enable railway passengers to use the mobile services in running trains," Dattatraya said in a written reply.
RailTel was set up nearly two years back to create a nationwide telecom and multi-media network by utilising railways' optical fibre assets and right-of-way.
"RailTel will initially connect the four metros namely Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata and four mini metros namely Ahmedabad, Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad. It will also provide bandwidth at stations which can be used for communications in rural areas."
The state-owned company has meanwhile embarked on plans to provide Internet, overseas and domestic phone call services through kiosks on railway platforms.
Detailed guidelines have already been issued to railways zones to set up kiosks.
In the initial phase, three sections have been identified for setting up kiosks. These are Ludhiana-Amritsar in Punjab, Ahmedabad-Vadodara in Gujarat and Chennai-Chengalpattu in Tamil Nadu, the minister informed the lower house of Parliament.
The Indian Railways is the second largest under a single management and operates 13,500 trains daily. Of these around 8,000 are passenger trains that carry over 13.6 million people daily.