RailTel Corporation of India Ltd

RailTel Corporation of India Ltd. is an Indian public sector enterprise focusing on providing broadband and VPN services. RailTel was formed in September 2000 with the objective of creating a nationwide broadband, telecom and multimedia network, and to modernise train control operation and safety system of Indian Railways. It is under the ownership of Indian Railways, Ministry of Railways, Government of India. 

RailTel's network passes through around 5,000 stations across the country, covering all major commercial centres. The Indian Railways (IR) was initially solely dependent on the Department of Telecom (now BSNL) for their control and administrative communication circuits. To increase circuit efficiency, the Railways began building up its own communication systems from early 1970s based on overhead telephone lines, quad cables and microwave signalling.

In 1983, the Railway Reforms Committee decided to introduce optical fibre cable (OFC) based communications in IR to provide safety, reliability, availability and serviceability through use of a dedicated network. The decision was also taken to create a network independent of the DoT and replace the existing microwave telecom systems (60% of which had reached end of life) with OFC. Indian Railways commissioned the first OFC on the Churchgate–Virar line in Mumbai in 1988 for train operation and control purpose, which consisted of 60 km of network across 28 stations. 

The network was expanded in Central India with the commissioning of 900 km of OFC network in 1991–92 across Durg–Nagpur, Nagpur–Itarsi and Itarsi–Bhusaval sections of the Howrah–Nagpur–Mumbai line, and in Eastern India with the commissioning of 60 km of OFC network in Tatanagar–Chakradhrapur section of the same line. The second National Telecom Policy in 1999 opened the National Long-Distance segment under favourable licensing conditions with revenue sharing to assist mobile network operators to spread their networks across India. In 2000, the Government announced the formation of a telecom corporation to build a nationwide broadband multimedia telecommunication network. RailTel was established in 26 September 2000 as a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU), wholly owned by the Indian Railways.

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