Google Brings Wi-Fi to Indian Rail Stations
Indian railroads have about 13 million riders a day to more than 7000 stations spread out across the states, and Google has announced plans to bring high-speed Wi-Fi to at least 100 of the busiest stations by the end of 2016 with hopes to increase the coverage to 4000 stations in total. The first 100 stations serve about 10 million riders a day, according to Google.
The move is being made in partnership with Indian Railways and provider RailTel and was announced yesterday at an event at Google’s campus together with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has been visiting influential Silicon Valley companies over the past few days.
While smartphone sales in India are booming, data plans and bandwidth are often limited and slow. Google promises that its Wi-Fi service will be fast enough to stream HD video. It will be free at first, with the goal of it becoming self-sustainable and then expanding to other stations. That would probably mean it would incur a cost later on in the future.
This effort is part of Google’s goal of connecting more people to the Internet. Of course, it will also be about connecting more people to Google’s ad business. But then, who cares. It’s free Wi-Fi.