Image: courtesy Wireless Broadband Alliance
Multiple paths to bring Wi-Fi to Indian masses

June 20 2018: On the occasion of World Wi-Fi Day today, we look at some Indian initiatives to  bring Wi-Fi to the masses, linking to the original news sources:

Uttarakhand uses hot-air balloons to bring Wi-Fi internet to remote villages
The Indian state of Uttarakhand has used a novel new way of bringing connectivity to remote areas. The mountainous state in north India has launched a project that will use hot-air balloons to deliver Wi-Fi connectivity and internet to remote areas in the state. The rugged nature of the topography of much of the state means that it can be very difficult to bring internet connectivity the traditional way.
According to a report by the Times Of India, the technology has been developed as a result of a collaboration between Uttarakhand’s ITDA (Information and Technology Development Agency) and IIT Bombay, one of the premier institutes for education in technology-related fields in India. It s similar to  Google’s Project Loon, which uses the physics of hot-air balloon technology to navigate to a remote location, and then beam internet connectivity down using directional antennae. The antennae are powered on the balloon itself, and connect wirelessly to receive internet signals from satellites or ground-based broadcasting systems. The balloon used in Uttarakhand is capable of broadcasting Wi-Fi to anyone in a 7.5km range of the balloon, with speeds of up to 5MBPS. The balloon is also capable of remaining afloat for 14 days at a time, and will be available for use in remote areas for free initially.The device cost Rs 500,000  to develop, and it can also be used to assist rescue operations during emergencies, similar to the Kedarnath flooding of 2013 which took place in the state. A camera attached to the balloon, as well as enabling Wi-Fi connectivity, could enable surveillance of remote areas in emergencies, and aid connectivity during these times. Source: BGR

400 railways stations in India now have Google’s free WiFi
As of June 2018, the Search giant Google provides free public WiFiservices to 400 Indian railway stations, and over 8 million people are using this service to access the Internet every year. The project, which was first announced in the year 2015, aimed to provide stable internet connectivity and hence improve the wireless infrastructure of the country. 
The project was brought into action in collaboration with RailTel, a public sector telecom infrastructure provider, and the Indian Railways.  Byy connecting more users in India, Google stands to improve its chances of monetising one of the fastest growing markets in the world.  Source: BusinessInsider