Making good on its promise of providing high-speed Wi-Fi to hundreds of train station across the country, Google has started the public Wi-Fi service in Bhopal, Ernakulam Jn, Bhubaneshwar, Ranchi, Kacheguda, Pune, Vijayawada, Vishakhapatnam, and Raipur.
Including central Mumbai, which is where the service kicked off in the beginning of this year, this takes the total number of stations enjoying the service up to 10. Speaking on the topic, Gulzar Azad, Head of Access Project, Google India, said
These nine stations join the first we brought online in January, Mumbai Central, where more than 100,000 people are already logging into the high-speed Wi-Fi every week. We hope that people passing through these first 10 stations will enjoy being able to easily stream (or offline) an HD video, research their destination, or download a book or a new game for their journey ahead.
The company also said that it will add 90 more stations this very year, fulfilling a quarter of its 400 city goal for India.
In case you have been wondering about why Google is suddenly so keen upon providing amenities to the passengers of Indian railways: well, it isn’t about just the railways, and Google isn’t even the only mega corporation trying to get as many Indians online as possible — although, it certainly seems to be making the most headaway.
Facebook also recently fought and lost a battle with its internet.org initiative. In fact, the answer to why all these corporations are suddenly vying to get uninterrupted internet access to the Indian masses, may be found in Facebook’s attempt, which was quashed by the authorities due to tariff rates that favored some (Facebook’s for example) services over all others.
India, with its population of 1.3 Billion people, the vast majority of whom are still not online, represents an opportunity like no other. Google, Facebook, and every other company, by facilitating internet access, is hoping to be the one bringing this population online.
Facebook for example, has only 130 million users in India. And the major reason behind this seemingly poor performance is a lack of Internet. So if Facebook could somehow induce even a portion of the rest of the population to come online — it does not take a genius to imagine the boost it would give to Facebook’s business. Hence, Facebooks frantic push to bring internet to the country. The last we heard, the company was attempting to build a drone of sorts, that could provide internet to even the most backward regions.
Google is similarly employed in discovering and implementing such tactics. The railways is just one example, the company is still in talks with the Indian government on its ambitious balloon internet providers.
The efforts of both these companies aren’t limited to just internet though, and India has been getting a preferential treatment from both, in form of apps, updates and early releases, this year.
Meanwhile, the efforts of these corporations also serves to underline the growing reach of corporations and how, if they find public services inadequate for their means, they can jump in virtually any time to achieve their ends.
In the meanwhile, keep an eye out and in case you are passing through one of these stations, don’t forget to enjoy the high speed internet.