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Google taking abroad public Wi-Fi experience from India, say sources

"We are constantly looking at other areas. We are talking to a lot of people, including telecom companies," said K Suri

Karan Choudhury  |  New Delhi 

Prime Minister Modi launched 'Digital India' in 2014 after which Facebook and Google started meeting with the Prime Minister's Office

After deploying Wi-Fi at 400 railway stations, infotech giant is taking its Station project outside India to other countries, including and Sources mention Southeast Asia, Latin America and some other countries in this sub-continent.

The company is also in talks with multiple for deployment of the public Wi-Fi in India. In 2015, it had collaborated with RailTel for free Wi-Fi at 400 stations. "We are constantly looking at other areas. We are talking to a lot of people, including telecom companies," said K Suri, India, director, partnership,

Most of the markets it is now looking at in hopes of gaining the next billion internet users have demographics similar to that of India. So, it would be easier to roll-out Wi-Fi there, sources said.

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Google is also in talks with the governments of Delhi, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and to deploy public services. The company has commissioned a study with Analysys Mason states that deployment of public Wi-Fi is expected to connect 40 million new users to the internet by 2019, and translate into tangible benefits to gross domestic product by around $20 billion. "Around 100 million people would be willing to spend an additional $2-3 billion per year on handsets and a similar amount on cellular mobile broadband services," the report said.

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Estimates suggest India currently has 36,000 commercial hotspots. China has about 6.1 million; and 165,000 each.

While Google is still earning from its public Wi-Fi services via advertisements, it is exploring other revenue sources. These include a subscription-based model and paying per gigabyte.

Suri added that there is an opportunity to develop a wider connectivity system with public Wi-Fi as a key component. The scale of the Google-RailTel project is , he said, fast and affordable public Wi-Fi can help in bringing more people online. On average, users were consuming atleast 300MB on the RailTel Wi-Fi.

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Asked if usage had been affected after the launch of Reliance Jio's services Suri answered in the negative. He said the market had evolved rapidly in 2017, especially after the entry of

First Published: Thu, July 05 2018. 06:35 IST