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RailTel to create data centres in rail premises at 102 locations in tier 2, 3 towns, floats EoI

RailTel has plans to set up data centres across 102 locations in Railway premises and on Railway land, and has sought Expressions of Interest (EoI) from interested partners
RailTel to create data centres in rail premises at 102 locations in tier 2, 3 towns, floats EoI
RailTel to create data centres in rail premises at 102 locations in tier 2, 3 towns, floats EoI
  • The major benefit of an Edge Data Centre is the quick delivery of services with minimal latency
  • The project will entail an investment opportunity of over Rs 500 crore under PPP model, said RailTel

New Delhi: RailTel has plans to set up data centres across 102 locations in Railway premises and on Railway land at an investment of over Rs 500 crore, and has sought Expressions of Interest (EoI) from interested partners. In an official statement released on Wednesday, RailTel said, “RailTel is seeking partners to establish such Edge Data Centres in the Railway premises/land across 102 locations especially Tier-2 and Tier-3 towns. The prospective Business Associates/partners should be a company registered in India. This activity will entail an investment opportunity of around Rs 500+ crore.”

“The process to establish these Edge Data Centres has been set in motion with the floating of Expression of Interest (EOI) inviting industry to partner in this exercise,” said the PSU.

RailTel to create Edge Data Centres

With a view to accelerate the pace of digital transformation and efficient digital delivery in rural and semi-urban areas, RailTel has decided to create several “Edge Data Centres” in such areas in different parts of the country jointly with partners. This new initiative of RailTel will give boost to the government’s mission of Digital India, said the PSU. 

Edge data centres are small data centres located at the edge of the network, where they are closer to end users and devices. Having such kind of facility at the edge would enable faster performance and lower latency as organisations will not have to move the data to far-flung data centres to process it. Latency has always been a problem for data centre managers, but in recent times it has become a critical concern in view of wide range of next-generation applications like big data, the Internet of Things, Cloud and streaming services, and other technology trends.   

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Under the proposed plan, initial capacity of envisioned Edge Data Centre at each location can be of around 20 Racks (5 KW to 10 KW each). However, Edge Data Centre with variable rack and power density can be explored as per the requirement and availability of space, power and other factors at individual locations.

RailTel to leverage existing infra to create data centres

RailTel has over 9,300 Points of Presence (PoPs) and extensive optical fiber connectivity along the Railway Tracks and across the premises of Indian Railways, which makes the basic infrastructure readily available for the setting up of such Edge Data Centres. RailTel shall have the responsibility of providing the telecom/internet connectivity to the Selected Business Associate. 

Data Centre use for Railway critical application like LTE, TCAS etc. shall be met on priority. Service offerings based on market requirement including health, education, skill development sectors will be jointly devised with selected partners, which may cover one or more basic service platform — Rack Colocation, Managed Colocation, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), categories of cloud computing services etc.

Edge Data Centres to improve experience of RailWire browsers

Edge Data Centres will enable RailTel to deploy IT infrastructure for ‘caching’ of popular contents to improve experience of RailWire broadband customers as cached contents will then be served locally instead of travelling long stretch of Network. Similarly, IT infrastructure for ‘peering’ with content players can also be deployed in these Edge Data Centres which would improve cost economics for delivery of contents (eg. Youtube, Hotstar etc.)

These centres will enable RailTel to improve resiliency of network and help to improve customer experience of “RailWire” broadband services of RailTel. The current subscriber base of RailTel is around 4.4 Lakhs and it will further rise sharply with the coming up of such Edge Data Centre. 

RailTel already has 2 UPTIME USA certified Data Centres — one in National Capital Region (Gurugram) and another in Secunderabad. 

Talking about the plan, RailTel CMD Puneet Chawla said, “With the help of such localised Data Centres, rural areas can be served with low latency applications related to digital skills, financial inclusions, digital literacy etc. The Edge Date Centres will provide better experience and aid in adoption of digital services by the population of these areas and thus contributing to digital economy. The move will be another important steps towards the path of digital transformation. It will also provide an opportunity to local professionally skilled manpower to participate in this transformation.”  

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