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Railway plugs into cyber world

New Delhi, June 27: Even if the train is late, you now have choices other than pacing the platform or reading and re-reading the newspaper. Log on to the worldwide web at smart cyber cafes the railway is putting up at stations throughout the country.

The first such cyber cafe was launched at New Delhi railway station today by Union minister for railways Nitish Kumar.

Kumar said the railway will set up 200 such cyber cafes throughout the country to let passengers access the Internet, 24 hours, seven days of the week.

The network has been facilitated by the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and a pact is to be signed soon with RailTel, which will allow both to access each others facilities.

RailTel plans to enter into similar agreements with MTNL and private telecom operators.

Kumar announced that RailTel would introduce Internet facilities in one of the trains buoyed by its recent successful experiment, which would later be extended to other trains running between mega-metros during the current financial year.

The cyber cafes would have a broadband Internet connectivity of 256 Kilo-bits per second (Kbps) and would be operated by the Railtel corporation. The cafe would have the provision for 12 flat-screen LCD-based computer terminals, two Internet connected phones and two video conferencing set-ups.

New Delhi railway station’s cyber cafe is fully air-conditioned and is powered by a 256 Kbps Net connection. Browsing is based on pre-paid billing through pin billing coupons of three denominations of Rs 15 for 15 minutes, Rs 20 for 30 minutes and Rs 30 for 60 minutes.

The cyber cafe has facilities for web browsing, e-mailing, gaming, Internet telephony, scanning, printing, photocopying, faxing and video conferencing.

Kumar announced that RailTel would establish such cafes at all railway stations gradually to provide Internet and other telecom connectivity to passengers, industries and market places as an ‘A’ category Internet Service Producer licensee.

The Internet telephone can be used with like a normal phone call and charges are recorded through a bill printing machine used in normal PCOs. RailTel has appointed Appologic Broadband Systems Limited as its franchisee for the cafes.

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