Google has launched 150 Google Station hotspots in Pune, as part of the Pune Smart City project, in partnership with Larsen & Toubro. This is the first instance of Google Station being deployed outside of train stations. These hotspots have been set up at gardens, hospitals, government offices, museums, bus stops, and police stations across the city. Here’s the complete list. The search major said that it is currently testing the network based on performance to improve user experience.
This development was first announced in February last year, with Google expected to set up 200 hotspots. Google is responsible for deploying the WiFi network, including managing the network, customizing on boarding of users and KYC, while RailTel provides last-mile fibre connectivity. It has also been reported that about 15-20% of the generated revenues will be shared with the government.
Google had partnered Indian Railways and RailTel to launch the RailTel WiFi project in 2015, through which Wi-Fi hotspots were set up in train stations across the country. As of now, hotspots have been set up in 270 stations, and a further 130 train stations are expected to be WiFi enabled as part of this project, though no specific timeline has been communicated.
Google Station was spun off from the RailTel project in September 2016, as a public WiFi platform which allows other venues and locations to become partners with the company to provide high-speed Internet. It’s worth noting that at the time, Google’s vice president for product development, Caesar Sengupta said that 3.5 million new users were being added via the RailTel project every month, while the average usage per user was 600 MB on a 30 minute free connection.
Public WiFi projects in other states
- In December last year, the Karnataka government announced it will open public WiFi spots in Bengaluru on January 26, following which the service will be expanded to 11 municipal corporations across the state over the next two months.
- The state governments in Kerala and Telangana also initiated public WiFi programs in their states in 2017: Kerala in August, and Telangana in June.