Indian Railways' passengers will get video entertainment via Wi-Fi soon
The Indian Railways' bid to up its non-fare revenue is going to be a boon for passengers. Very soon, passengers will be able to watch content from providers such as Viacom18, Zee, Hungama and Shemaroo, while traveling on 3,000 trains. All you have to do is to log on to the railways' local wi-fi network onboard and you are good to go. Here's more.
What's the plan?
Almost 24 companies have shown interest in providing video content, including movies in all major languages. Railways will start the bidding next month. It will divide trains into two equal packages and bidding will take place in a phased manner. The successful bidder will pay an annual license fee. As per estimates, IR would garner around Rs. 500 crore from this, as non-fare revenue.
How will it be done?
Uninterrupted Internet facility is not possible in trains due to costs and technical difficulties. Therefore, the content will be broadcasted via local Wi-Fi in all coaches. According to an official, IR was expecting Rs. 1,000 crore per annum from this segment. However, it should not have difficulties in getting Rs. 500 crore with zero investment, as the bidder would facilitate the technology and equipment.
Why was it needed?
The contract will be awarded to the successful bidder for a period of five years. There will be a distribution box installed in the coaches and it will be updated regularly. Passengers would consume content on their own devices. In order to reduce reliance on freight and passenger fares, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu plans to earn 10% of total rail revenue from non-fare sources.