Google has announced the launch of free WiFi hotspots in Lagos. The new initiative by Google is in partnership with Fibre cable network provider, 21st Century.
The new free public WiFi services, called Google Station will be located in about 200 sites across Lagos, with planned expansion to other five states by 2019. Five of the stations including the Local Airport, Computer Village, Landmark, The Palms, and Ikeja City Mall, and these locations are already live. The states include Kaduna, Rivers, Oyo, Enugu, and Abuja. Nigeria is the fifth country to launch Google Station following its launch in India, Indonesia, Mexico, and Thailand.
What does Google Station mean
This is a service that allows Google partners to roll-out WiFi hotspots in public places by providing software and advice on hardware to turn fiber connections into WiFi.
A boost for internet penetration in the country
Nigeria’s Internet penetration is still low and according to World Bank data, just a meager 25.7 percent of the entire population made use of internet in 2016. The growth has been hampered by poor infrastructure leading to broadband services been either unreliable or too expensive to millions of Nigerians.
Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, Google’s Country Director revealed that the move was to ensure more participation by Nigerians in the digital economy while noting that the initiative was targeted at a populated area with the hope that by 2019, about 10 million Nigerians must have benefited.
The Country Director also said the service is aimed at countries with a rapidly expanding population. Nigeria is predicted to be the world’s third most populous nation after India by 2050.
In her words:
“Knowing fully well that World Bank claimed that there is a direct correlation between broadband and GDP growth, meaning that a 10 percent increase in broadband correlates to a 1.38 percent increase in GDP growth.”
How Google intends to make money from the free Wi-Fi
The company noted that it planned to generate cash from the service by placing Google adverts in the login-portal while revenue will be shared with partners who will help maintain and deploy the free Wi-Fi services.