Google To Discontinue Free Wi-Fi Programme At 400 Railway Stations
Global technology giant Google has announced that it will shut its free Wi-Fi programme on over 400 Indian Railway Stations.
The project which started in 2015, was one of the first initiatives by Google had undertaken under its 'Next Billion Users' or 'NBU' strategy.
The reason behind Google shutting its programme is attributed to cheap data in the country. Google India Vice President of Payments and Next Billion Users, Caesar Sengupta said that mobile data plans in the country have become more affordable and connectivity is improving globally.
"India, now has among the cheapest mobile data per GB in the world, with data prices having reduced by 95 per cent in the last five years, according to Trai in 2019," Sengupta added.
While Google did not particularly mention any telecom provider for providing cheap data, it is well understood that Reliance Jio's entry in the telecommunication sector has resulted in a drastic drop in data prices.
Google will also shut Wi-Fi programmes in Mexico, Nigeria, and Thailand across the year. The project was launched in partnership with Indian Railways and Railtel.
While Google provided the RAN and technology support, RailTel provided the physical infrastructure and internet bandwidth for 415 railway stations.
Amidst the news, RailTel has announced that it will continue to provide free Wi-Fi at over 5,600 railway stations across the country. RailTel over the years have roped in several partners along its journey and is providing Wi-Fi to 5190 - B, C, D category stations.
Google has mentioned that it is working with its partners to transition existing sites so that they can remain useful resources for the community.