Ever since partnering with PM Narendra Modi during his Silicon Valley visit last year, Google has played an important role in his ambitious Digital India project. As a part of this initiative, Google tied up with the railways to offer high-speed free Wi-Fi connectivity at 400 railway stations in India, along with RailTel. Google launched its Wi-Fi service called RailWire first at Mumbai Central earlier this year. Google today revealed that over 1.5 million Indians have used its free Wi-Fi service. Google also gave a glimpse at the usage patterns of Wi-Fi users across 19 railway stations where the service is currently available. Also Read - Google's offline dinosaur game in new Olympics avatar: Here's how to can playAlso Read - Best camera phones under Rs 35000 to buy in July 2021: Pixel 4a, Mi 11X, and more
Google says that over 100,000 users connected to its network at Mumbai Central within a week of launch. But this number was broken by Bhubaneshwar within a day of launch. Google says that there is a high percentage of usage in tier two cities like Patna, Jaipur and Vishakhapatnam among others. Also Read - Timex Helix Smart 2.0 with temperature sensor, heart rate sensor launched: Details here
These numbers are not that surprising as the general network infrastructure at these places are not on par with tier one cities. Google further says that the trend among tier two city users is to look and apply for jobs, while a large number of students in cities like Bhubaneshwar and Pune look for their educational course-related content. These students are also seen downloading new apps and updating their phone’s software.
After launching at Mumbai Central, the RailWire service has been introduced at stations in Allahabad, Jaipur, Patna, Ujjain Junction, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Ernakulam, Kacheguda, Pune, Raipur, Ranchi, Vijayawada, Vishakhapatnam and Guwahati. The company recently announced that it also plans to introduce the service at Mumbai’s local train stations. Google’s target is to launch its free Wi-Fi service at 100 railway stations by year-end, and over 400 stations in the next couple of years.
On World Wi-Fi Day, the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) also points us to a research report by Maravedis Rethink Research, which gives us some interesting insights to broadband access across the globe. The key insight reveals that only 57 percent of the world’s urban population is connected to the internet. Of this, a majority live in some of the world s wealthiest cities.
Internet penetration is not surprisingly related to economy levels, and the likes of Africa (82 percent), Asia Pacific (68 percent) and Latin America (55 percent) regions have the highest percentage of unconnected population. On the other end of the spectrum, Europe has only 17 percent of its population with no broadband access, while the likes of North America has only 23 percent of its population not connected. Keep in mind, these numbers only consider the urban population, and they will only rise if the rural population is taken into consideration.