300,000 a Week Log In to Google's Free Wi-fi in Indian Stations

Tim Maytom

IndiaWifi_zoomed our May11MR2300,000 Indian commuters a week are logging in to free wi-fi thanks to Google, which has provided the facility in a number of train stations across the country as a way to help bring people online and expand its brand profile in the country, which is seeing rapid and massive growth in its online population.

Google recently celebrated bringing the number of train stations in India where it provides free high speed wi-fi to 15, following an initial pilot scheme in Mumbai Station earlier this year. The stations form part of Google's project to make high-speed wi-fi available to over 10m Indians, and the search giant plans to reach over 100 stations by the end of the year, and eventually cover 400 different locations across the whole of India.

The project, which is being undertaken in partnership with Indian Railways and RailTel, has also been expanded to a number of suburban stations around Mumbai following the high demand for the service that Google has seen in the area.

"In the past year, 100m people in India started using the Internet for the first time," said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, speaking when the project was first announced. "This means there are now more internet users in India than in every country in the world aside from China. But what's really astounding is the fact that there are still nearly 1bn people in India who aren't online.

"Even with just the first 100 stations online, this project will make wi-fi available for the more than 10m people who pass through every day. We think this is an important part of making the internet both accessible and useful for the more than 300m Indians already online, and the nearly 1bn who are not."