Google announced the launch of Google Station, which will provide access to free Wi-Fi across Nigeria. According to Anjali Joshi, VP product management at Google, the program will fix connectivity challenges in the country.
Google Station will roll out 200 Wi–Fi hotspots across five additional Nigerian cities, apart from Lagos —Port Harcourt, Abuja, Kaduna, Enugu, Ibadan — in partnership with local ISP, 21st Century Technologies before the end of 2019. In Lagos, the hotspots will be available at the airport, University of Lagos, Landmark Event Centre, The Palms Shopping Mall and Ikeja City Mall.
Nigeria is the fifth country where Google is launching the program, after India, Indonesia, Thailand and Mexico. Facebook launched a similar program (Express Wi-Fi) in 2016 to provide access to affordable internet in Nigeria.
This isn’t Google’s first internet access-focused initiative in Africa. In Ghana and Uganda, it had launched Project Link through which it builds fiber-optic networks to help local internet service providers and mobile operators deliver faster broadband. The company is also in talks with telecom operators in Kenya to launch Project soon.
This is more than welcome, as Google station propose 30 Mbps to replace the 1.86 Mbps cos Google is well aware of Nigeria’s internet speed limitations: last year, during his first visit to Nigeria, Google CEO Sundar Pichai launched YouTube Go an “offline first” version of the popular video sharing platform for users with slow internet connections.