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Google Station free Wi-Fi service shuts down globally

2020-02-17 16:44 by


Google announced today plans to shut down its Google Station program. Launched in 2015, the program was intended to increase access to the internet for those that might not have been able to afford it, by working with local governments and companies to create hotspots in heavily trafficked areas. The program was launched in India in 2015, and later expanded to Indonesia and Nigeria, among other countries.

Caesar Sengupta, VP at Google, wrote on the official company blog that it had become a challenge for Google and its partners to scale and be sustainable with the Google Station programme. Sengupta also wrote that it was now easier for Indians to access internet.

"Mobile data plans have become more affordable and mobile connectivity is improving globally," Sengupta wrote. "Google station was launched as a partnership between Google, Indian Railways and Railtel to bring fast, fee public Wi-Fi to over 400 of the busiest stations in India by mid-2020. But we crossed that number by 2018."

Google isn't the only company to have tried to make it easier for users in developing markets to get online. Facebook founded the project in 2013, and in 2016 it launched Express Wi-Fi In India, after its previous internet service was banned in the country. Elsewhere, companies have been experimenting with new technologies to provide internet where fixed infrastructure is more unreliable. Alphabet's Project Loon has attempted to do this using stratospheric helium balloons, while Facebook has experimented with solar-powered internet drones in the past.

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