The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Connected, even on train

Staying connected even on a train is set to turn into reality, with RailTel Corporation and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) joining hands to provide wireless in local loop (WLL ) facilities to passengers. The telecom service provider, by agreement with RailTel, will utilise its towers for its WLL requirements.

“We have entered into an agreement with BSNL on various areas of cooperation,” admitted RailTel managing director R.C. Sharma. Anil Kaushal, BSNL’s deputy director-general (business development), said over phone from Delhi: “We have started infrastructural work already.”

According to Kaushal, BSNL will utilise the existing RailTel network to strengthen its telecom services. “Using RailTel’s existing network is the key. Consumers and passengers will benefit by this agreement,” he said.

Officials said that field units of BSNL will examine tower details provided by RailTel for the possibility of utilising tower space for its WLL requirements.

RailTel towers are available at every 30 to 50 km and BSNL officials feel using them will help them penetrate into the remote areas of the country, giving them an edge over private operators.

By the agreement, BSNL will get RailTel priority for providing WLL public call offices on trains. So, all passengers, even those without mobile phones, can make STD and ISD calls while travelling on a train. A RailTel official said the system would help the railways also, as they will be able to get news of accidents promptly. BSNL is also examining the feasibility of using RailTel’s optical-fibre cable network along the tracks for meeting telephony requirements.

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