Back in 2015, before Reliance Jio disrupts the Indian telecom space with its super affordable data plans, Google launched an initiative to bring super high-speed and highly reliable public WiFi service to India’s busiest railway stations. Started first in Mumbai Central railway station, the high-speed public Wi-Fi service has now reached its target of 400 train stations across India.
The deployment was completed when, Dibrugarh railway station in Assam state, northeast India went online. The 400th railway station in India to be powered by Google’s public Wi-Fi service.
Google Station as Google calls the service has been one of the successful initiatives of Google India to bring the “next billion users online“. The initiative is also part of Project Nilgiri, the tech giant master plan to create world’s largest free Wi-fi hotspot network. For this service, Google has partnered with Indian Railways and RailTel. The state-owned ISP RailTel has an extensive optical fiber network laid along the railway lines.
Google Station India insights
- The project was announced in 2015 by Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- The main aim of the project to provide high-speed public Wi-Fi in 400 train stations across India.
- Google partnered with Indian Railways and its technological arm RailTel.
- On January 2016 Mumbai Central become the first Google Station Wi-Fi enabled railway station.
- More than 8 million people are coming online with Google Station every month.
- On average, users consume 350MB of data per session.
- Railway stations in tier 2 Indian cities got higher data consumption.
- Data usage pattern shows mainly infotainment, followed by jobs lookup, educational courses, checking exam results, downloading the software and upgrading phone apps.
- Dibrugarh railway station in Assam state, northeast India is the 400th railway station to be powered by Google Station.
Currently, you could use high-speed internet free for the first 30-minutes via connecting to Google station. After you hit the above FUP limit, the speed will get reduced to a minimum. Also, the experience in the free-mode is backed by advertisement. You could also opt for paid plans which offer unlimited data usage and Ads free sign-in option. Google Station premium plans start at Rs 19 for 24hours usage and Rs 149 for a week.
Google Station current locations
Indian success of Google Station showed the company tremendous potential of public Wi-Fi programs in creating opportunities. Thus they replicated the Indian-only service to other parts of the world. Now Google Station is being deployed in Indonesia and Mexico.
Google Station in India is not restricted to railway stations, but its expanding to cities near you. The public Wi-Fi service is now available in Pune, Maharashtra, and more Smart Cities across India.