Google now runs free Wi-Fi access across 9 major railway stations in the country since the second week of April, 2016. The company has been charting plans to provide access to high-speed fiber optic internet across the country, and expects to have access portals across 100 major railway stations by the end of 2016.
During Google’s CEO’s visit to India in December 2015, Mr. Pichai announced that the company would make public Wi-Fi available across 400 rail stations in the country. This is expected to be achieved over the next few years.
Google’s public Wi-Fi is available at Mumbai Central, Bhubaneswar, Ernakulam Jn, Kacheguda, Pune, Vijayawada, Raipur, Ranchi and Visakhapatnam rail stations.
In-line with the United Nations charter for Global Sustainable Development by 2030, India has upped its game to increase technological literacy. At the helm of it all is our country’s Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, who is working with Google to improve internet-access across the country.
With a population of over 1.3 billion in India, Google’s free internet access will allow millions to learn, browse and leap forward over the next few years. Of the total population, only 19% have internet access which Google is set to change shortly. In 2015, India saw 100 million users connect to the internet for the very first time and these figures are expected to go up to 400 million in 2018.
Google has currently tied up with RailTel that owns approximately 45000kms of fiber optic lines across the Indian Railways in the country. With internet access currently available only at rail stations, Google also plans to expand coverage with access points fitted above moving trains. In true, terms, Google does seem to want to provide India with ‘internet on-the-go’.
With the required infrastructure in place, as well as the right associations, it won’t be long before Google offers fiber optic connections to households as well as public Wi-Fi access in populated areas. An apt example would be the Google Loon project, where the company looks to float balloons that will help boost internet connectivity over a larger area, each balloon lasting about 100 days.
Google started to provide free internet access to developing states in the USA in 2015 and now some months later, is looking to provide the local public with paid subscriptions for internet access with speeds up to 1Gbps. According to sources from Google, the 1Gbps plan would be made available to customers at a price of Rs. 4645 per month approximately while a 100Mbps line could be leased at Rs. 3,320.
While prices for high-speed internet lines continue to remain steep in our country, if and when Google Fiber is indeed offered in India, it will ruffle the feathers of high-priced service providers. Where we currently pay about Rs. 4000 a month for a 16 Mbps line you’d see a drastic improvement in speed even if it doesn’t soar to 100 Mbps.