Indian Railways
The headquarters of the joint venture will be located at Raipur city or Naya Raipur. Picture: Indian RailwaysReuters

The telecom wing of Indian Railway, RailTel, has partnered with Google India to provide Wi-Fi facility at 400 Indian stations. The agreement has been signed, the government has said.

Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha, in a reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, said RailTel Corporation of India Limited (RCIL) under the Railway Ministry had signed an agreement with Mahataa Information India Pvt Ltd (MIIPL), is a subsidiary of Google Inc, according to an official statement.

Their aim is to provide Wi-Fi in 400 Indian railway stations in two phases, said the official statement from the Railway Ministry.

Non-suburban stations with an annual passenger earning of more than Rs 60 crore are categorised as A1 stations.

Non-suburban stations with an annual passenger earning of Rs 8 crore and upto Rs 60 crore have been categorised as A stations.

The project shall be undertaken in two phases to cover 75 Class A1 and 325 Class A stations.

Phase one will cover 100 of these stations, while in phase two Wi-Fi facility will be extended to the other 300 stations.

The total expenditure for the project will be incurred by RCIL and MIIPL, said the minister, adding that as a result, it would be cost neutral to Railways.

Google had announced this initiative in a post on its Asia-Pacific blog, written by its CEO Sundar Pichai.

He had said in the post: "Even with just the first 100 stations online, this project will make Wi-Fi available for the more than 10 million (1 crore) people who pass through every day. This will rank it as the largest public Wi-Fi project in India, and among the largest in the world, by number of potential users."

He had also said the connections would be "fast — many times faster than what most people in India have access to today".