In 2015, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an initiative together to provide high speed Wi-Fi internet in 400 train stations across India. Today, after working in collaboration with RailTel for two years, Google has managed to complete that project by providing Wi-Fi to Dibrugarh station in Assam, which marks as 400th station.
The project that kicked off with Mumbai Central in 2016, blossomed into a global public Wi-Fi program that Google later rolled out as Google Station. Through this model, the company provides 8 million people internet access across the country in a month. Google stated that the project has not only helped travelers stay connected, but has also helped people working around stations to get free access to internet. Google was able to pull this off, thanks to the optic fiber network created by RailTel, which is the telecom arm of Indian Railways.
Currently, Google Station offers 30-minute sessions, where the company has noted users to consume 350MB of data on an average. Google also states that over half the users log-in again to engage in multiple sessions throughout the day. While most of the people who use Google Station fall between the age gap 19 to 34, Google is also helping old and first-time users to use the service through on-ground support staff.
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Google doesn’t plan on stopping after 400 stations either. The company recognizes that there are still millions of people in the country who haven’t experienced internet and not all of them live near stations. For that purpose, the company is going beyond railway tracks to bring Wi-Fi in other parts of cities. Google Station is currently available in 150 locations around Pune with more cities getting the same treatment soon. Not just that, Google Station has also been launched in Mexico and Indonesia.