Here’s Why Google India Is Killing Its Station WiFi Programme

Here’s Why Google India Is Killing Its Station WiFi Programme”

He also said the increased availability of cheap LTE data, particularly in India, made Google feel the program wasn't as needed as it was before. In addition to more than 400 railway stations in India, the Google Station program now provides free Wi-Fi in "thousands" of other locations across the world.

Google will shut down its Google Station - through which it installed free WiFi at over 400 Indian railway stations - this year, Caesar Sengupta, VP - Payments and Next Billion users, announced earlier today.

In addition to India, the Station programme was available in Brazil, South Africa, Nigeria, Thailand, the Philippines, Mexico, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

Google says that since Station started five years ago, mobile data plans have become a lot more affordable in India, making it hard for the service to scale up and be sustainable.

RailTel will continue to provide free WiFi at over 5,600 railway stations across the country including the 415 stations which were commissioned with the technological support from Google, the statement said, adding that RailTel will also continue to execute WiFi connectivity at the balance stations. He cited reports that state mobile data prices have reduced by 95% in the last five years and Indian users consume close to 10 GB of data, each month on an average. The Indian Railways has also since launched an initiative to connect more railway stations on its own since then and connected 5500 stations with other partners which includes Tata Trust, PGCIL etc. Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said last week said the government is now mulling allowing people residing nearby the stations to use the facility.

Further, the company has noticed that the challenge of varying technical requirements and infrastructure among its partners across countries has also made it hard for the project to scale up and be sustainable, especially for its partners. "And when we evaluate where we can truly make an impact in the future, we see greater need and bigger opportunities in building products and features tailored to work better for the next billion user markets", he said. "We are working with our partners to transition existing sites so they can remain useful resources for the community", he said.

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