What have been RailTel’s achievements so far, and the key digital milestones?
RailTel completed 21 glorious years of its journey in becoming one of the largest neutral telecom infrastructure and ICT providers of the country, in September this year. Over the years, RailTel has grown from a small entity into a giant 1400 plus crore company, with a 60,000 plus route kilometers high capacity optical fibre network built across the railway tracks, and a city access network of 18,000 plus route kilometers, including the North East States and Jammu and Kashmir region.
RailTel broadband service has touched 4.2 lakh plus customers by September 2021 and has increased by around four times in just 18 months. The internet bandwidth consumption has grown by around five times, the VPN enterprise bandwidth has grown by four times since March 2020.
The journey so far has been extremely challenging yet rewarding, from meeting the telecom requirements of Indian Railways to diversifying into various branches of ICT, we have grown in leaps and bounds in the past few years. Today, I can proudly say that RailTel has successfully carved a niche as one of the most trusted partners for digital transformation, not only for the railways, but also for many other sectors like coal, defense, banking, etc.
How has the pandemic impacted the workflow at RailTel?
The thrust for digitalisation has been accelerated by the Covid pandemic as the outbreak has compelled businesses across industries to turn to technology enabled platforms for safe operations and for seamless business continuity. It has transformed business models globally, and organisations are augmenting their digital capabilities and increasingly relying on digital solutions to future proof their enterprises.
In the pandemic crisis situation online video content services were extensively used for coordination and supervision by general managers, regional general managers and other senior officers of the railways for enabling smooth railway operations throughout the country.
During the lockdown period, we noticed a phenomenal increase in usage of video conference services by over 25 times as compared to pre-Covid times. Another challenge which the pandemic brought was working from home. Since March 2020, our RailTel team worked tirelessly and went on to complete the project execution of NIC e-office in all 216 establishments of Indian railways; Created 50,000 + users in 58 units of Indian Railways and trained the executives to use the platform in a mere span of six months. Thus, RailTel’s workforce was efficiently able to work from home due to the availability of e-file, and would have been impossible in the case of a manual filing system.
Can you tell us about some services provided by RailTel?
In the health sector, RailTel started implementation of hospital management information system in around 700 hospitals and polyclinics of Indian Railways. It is an integrated clinical information system for improved hospital management and patient healthcare.
In the education sector also we are providing online learning solutions, smart classes and connectivity to various schools and colleges. Already about 740 institutes of higher learning, including the IITs and the IIMs are connected to our network.
We are also in discussion with the Ministry of Education, various state governments, and Navodaya Vidyalaya for connectivity to schools and colleges, including the smart class solutions.
RailTel has invested significantly in Wi-Fi with its station Wi-Fi network spread across 6000 plus railway stations, pan India; and we have created broadband POPs (Point of Presence) at all these stations.
We also intend to provide connectivity to villages, through our POPs, which have been created for providing Wi-Fi, out of the 6000 railway stations 5000 of them are in the rural stations.
(Puneet Chawla, Chairman and Managing Director, RailTel India, was the Keynote Speaker at the Digital PSU Summit, Express Computer)
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