Railways “abandoned” a project to provide internet connection in trains as it was not cost-effective, the government informed Parliament on Wednesday.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha said that Wi-Fi based internet facility through satellite communication technology was provided in Howrah Rajdhani Express train as a pilot project.
“This technology was capital intensive with recurring costs in the form of bandwidth charges and thus, was not cost-effective. Also, internet bandwidth availability for passengers was insufficient.
“Therefore, the project was abandoned. Presently, suitable cost-effective technology for provision of Wi-Fi based internet services in trains is not available,” he said.
Former Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had said in 2019 that the Center is planning to provide Wi-Fi service in trains in the next four to four-and-a-half years.
At present, Wi-Fi facility is being provided by Indian Railways at over 6,000 stations at no cost to the national transporter on self-sustainable basis. This facility is being provided with the help of RailTel, a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Ministry of Railways.