New Delhi, December 23: Google announced on Thursday its free Wi-Fi is now working at the 100 busiest railway stations in India. Over five million people in the country latch on to Google's free internet service every month, with 15,000 of them accessing the internet for the first time in their lives every day, the company said.
The growth of what Google described as "the largest public Wi-Fi project in the world" is in line with company's expectations. Earlier this year, at the time of the launch, Google had said it aims to be at 100 railway stations by the end of 2016. Udhagamandalam, a town and municipality in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is the 100th railway station to get Google's free Wi-Fi in India.
The company in a press statement said, "Over 10 million people who pass through these stations every day now have an access to fast Internet speed to stream (or offline) an HD video, research their destination or download a new book or game for the journey ahead. With over 5 million monthly users, the Google Railtel Wifi is helping millions of Indians discover the benefits of Internet with 15,000 first time users connecting to the network every day."
The service was available in 52 railway stations as of end of September. The company plans to bring its free Wi-Fi service to over 400 railway stations by the end of next year. It is now on its second phase of deployment, on the next 300 stations in India. In the meanwhile, the company also announced it has introduced Google Station, which gives partners an easy set of tools to roll-out Wi-Fi hotspots in public places.
Google is working with state-run ISP RailTel to bring internet connectivity to people. RailTel has optic fibre cable that runs alongside railway tracks covering almost 70 percent of the country.
"We’re really excited about reaching this milestone and it is an incredible feeling to look back and see how far we’ve come since we announced that we were partnering with Indian Railways and RailTel to provide Wi-Fi at 400 railway stations throughout the country," Gulzar Azad, Country Head - Connectivity, Google India said in a press statement.
At its "Google for India" event in September, the company said it has seen overwhelming support for its free Wi-Fi project, and announced a similar project called Google Stations to bring Wi-FI at public places around the world.