In an emailed response to BGR India, a Google spokesperson said, “This is only a test at few stations and users are not being charged at this point in time.”
It looks like Google‘s free Wi-Fi model at some regions in India is set to get a touch of premium. Some regulars who use the Google Station program in the city of Mumbai and Chennai have shared screen grabs of what appears to be a subscription plan for high-speed internet access beyond the current 30-minute limit.
The images shared on Reddit show the option of accessing unlimited ad-free internet service at any of the supported stations for 24 hours at a price of Rs 19. While this appears to be a very nominal fee given the decent speed the service has, it is in contrast to the program that started off with the aim of delivering high-speed internet access to the thousands of commuters at these stations on-the-go.
Interestingly, the Reddit thread indicates that in some regions, the option goes beyond the 24-hour limit. A user wrote, “For some reason, only see 1 week option in Chennai. Looks like A/B testing.” The image shared along the comment shows the option of using internet for a week at a premium of Rs 149. It is to be understood that the company has not officially disclosed its plans of allowing internet access for longer durations.
A Gadgets360 report quotes a Google spokesperson’s confirmation,”We are currently testing a paid offer, although there will always be a free option [with ads]. From the beginning, we have said that the long-term goal for RailTel Wi-Fi service was to make it self-sustainable, and a paid model is an important part of that.
BGR India has reached out to Google for more details on the subscription plans. Google has its free internet service running at over 200 stations in India and plans to reach a total of 400 stations by the end of 2018. It has partnered RailTel to provide the service across various stations in India.