New Delhi: Google Inc. on Friday kicked off an ambitious project to provide hi-speed Internet at 400 railway stations across India with launch of the service at Mumbai Central.

In September last year, during the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley, Google tied up with Indian Railways’ arm RailTel, which provides Internet services as RailWire via its extensive fiber network, to provide wi-fi services to millions of Indians who travel by train.

In the first phase of the project, the Mountain View, California-based company plans to cover 100 of the busiest stations by end of this year.

The company plans to assess the project after the first phase covering 100 stations is completed, before continuing with the remaining 300 stations, Gulzar Azad, head of access project, Google India said during the Google for India event in December.

When completed, it will become India’s largest public Wi-Fi project and will rank among the largest in the world by number of potential users, the company said.

“Bringing affordable Internet access to millions of people is an important part of making the Internet both easily accessible and useful for more than 300 million Indians who are already online, and the nearly one billion more who are not," said Rajan Anandan, vice president and managing director, Google South East Asia and India. “By end of this year over 10 million people will be able to enjoy this experience at 100 stations spread across the country."

The next four stations where the wi-fi service will be made available are Allahabad, Patna, Jaipur and Ranchi.

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