22 August, 2003

India's trains to offer broadband access

Passengers on India's railways may be the first in the to world to enjoy broadband access from a moving train.

According to a report in the news daily The Hindustan Times, Railtel Corporation of India, the communication arm of the Indian Railways, is planning to experiment with high-speed Internet access from train cabins later this year.
Crucial to the venture will be 40,000 km of fiber optic cable laid by Railtel around the country, which will provide a communications link not just for trains, but also provide cyber cafi access in stations and allow rural villagers access to services such as e-government, tele-education and telemedicine applications, said the report.

Trains are a vital form of transport in India, providing an affordable means of transport for both the poor and the middle class. India's railway infrastructure extends deeply into its rural areas and carries the most passenger traffic in the world.

Railway Minister Nitish Kumar said if the first train station cyber cafes were successful, then they could be built in all train stations in the country.

The first cafi, launched at New Delhi Station, has facilities for web browsing, e-mailing, games, Internet telephony, scanning, printing, photocopying, faxing and video-conferencing, according to Delhi Newsline news sites.

Rail operators in the U.K., which also has a widely used railway network, have been considering offering Wi-Fi access in carriages. However, the technical problem of getting a signal into and out of a moving train is proving to be too expensive an obstacle to overcome, according to a report in ZDNet U.K.

time to switch to linux .....
ZDNet India : Linux trails Windows XP slightly in usability: Study