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Google exports India public Wi-Fi model

Thirst for data: On average, users consumed more than 300MB on the Railtel Wi-Fi, says K. Suri.Thirst for data: On average, users consumed more than 300MB on the Railtel Wi-Fi, says K. Suri.

Google Station now in Indonesia, Mexico, more markets in pipeline, says director

Technology giant Google has taken its public Wi-fi model from India to other countries such as Indonesia and Mexico, a senior company official said on Wednesday.

Google India Director, Partnership, Next Billion Users, K. Suri said that after providing public Wi-Fi at 100 stations initially, the company now sees it as a product — the Google Station. “We have taken it to a couple of markets already and some are in the pipeline,” he added.

Google had collaborated with Railtel in 2015 to deploy free public Wi-Fi at 400 railway stations in India.

Mr. Suri added that in India, the technology giant is in discussions with multiple entities, including telecom operators, for deployment of public Wi-Fi across the country.

A study by Analysys Mason, commissioned by Google, showed deployment of public Wi-Fi is expected to connect 40 million new users to the Internet by 2019, and translate into tangible benefits to GDP by about $20 billion. “Public Wi-Fi will connect 40 million new users to the Internet by 2019 … around 100 million people would be willing to spend an additional $2-3 billion per year on handsets and a similar amount on cellular mobile broadband services,” the report said.

36,000 hotspots in India

As per estimates, India currently has about 36,000 commercial hotspots, compared to emerging markets like China, which has more than 6.1 million, and Indonesia and Mexico (having more than 1.65 lakh each).

On the report, Mr. Suri said despite strong growth in the Internet user base (316 million at the end of 2017), mobile broadband penetration in India still remained low at 31%. He said on average, users consumed more than 300MB on the Railtel Wi-Fi, to watch videos, access social media, search, buying tickets and online banking among other things.

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