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Building on its public WiFi collaboration with RailTel, Google has launched Google Station, a public WiFi platform which allows other venues and locations to become partners with the company to provide high speed Internet.

“We asked ourselves, why stop at railway stations. What if we could bring connectivity to more people? By getting wifi into more alls, bus stops, city centers, cafes, million more will be able to learn and find info they need, not just in India but anywhere,” Caesar Sengupta, vice president for product development said at an event in Delhi.

Currently, Google is live in 52 stations including Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. The company added that more than 3.5 million users are using the RailWire WiFi every month. “Among them, around 15000 are coming online for the first time every single day is our estimate,” Sengupta said. He added that the average usage per user is 600 Mb on a 30 minute free connection.

Google Station says that it will be taking care of managing the network, customizing on boarding of users, KYC. The company added that Google Station will provide a single unified login. Sengupta said that company will offer different means to monetize. “Some will make it free, some show ads, some will charge users,” he added.

TRAI’s WiFi consultation paper

Google Station’s launch takes importance as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) took notice of the growing number of public WIFi services, and floated a public WiFi consultation paper last month, asking “how do we get WiFi hotposts everywhere in India?” It added that small entrepreneurs or even small shop owners could create hotpsots and earn profits from it. TRAI was essentially giving a broader expanse to “Public WiFi networks”, and said that it shouldn’t be limited to licensed TSP/ISPs only. The regulator also proposed creating a central platform for payments across different WiFi networks and introducing ‘pay-as-you-go’ method for users to attract more consumers into using public WiFi services.

Other public WiFis

– In May, state owned telco BSNL said it extended its WiFi internet facility across 1,227 location by installing 2,505 Wi-Fi hotspots.
-In April, network providers including Techno Sat Comm and PING Network rolled out public WiFi service in Delhi metro across all stations including 222 trains, 187 stations
– The same month, Firefly Networks said it would provide WiFi internet access at Delhi’s Karkardooma Court Complex.
– In February, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) said that it would launchWiFi at 144 major bus stations across the state.
– In January, Ortel Communications introduced free public WiFi hotspots for its broadband subscribers, as a value added service in Bhubaneswar. Ortel said that 30,000 people were using their public WiFi.
– Internet service provider Joister also launched Joispot WiFi, a free public WiFi initiative in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Pune, with speeds of upto 2Mbps.

We will update once we get more details