In the U.S., Google is involved in projects like their Google Fiber and Project Fi to bring high speed Internet access to a wide variety of users and to help push the market to more expansive and cheaper access. In other parts of the world though, Google is working to just implement basic high-speed Internet access. One of those locations is India where it is estimated only 2 to 4 million households in a nation with a population of 1.3 billion people have an Internet connection fast enough to stream an HD movie. To address that, Google identified train stations as a good spot to reach a large number of people. Their first location – Mumbai Central station – went live today with high-speed Wi-Fi access for travelers waiting to make a connection.
Google says over 100,000 people will pass through Mumbai Central on a typical day. The Wi-Fi network Google has deployed will make it possible for those users to stream an HD video, download a game or YouTube video for later viewing, or even be productive like taking care of some emails.
Mumbai Station is just the first location in a bigger project Google is undertaking in conjunction with partners Indian Railways and RailTel. The next four train stations will include those in Allahabad, Jaipur, Patna and Ranchi. Before the end of the year, Google hopes to light up 100 train stations and longer term they have plans for 400 train stations.
The high-speed Wi-Fi access is free for users, but they do have to have an Indian mobile number on a smartphone. Users can then connect to “RailWire Wi-Fi” and follow the prompts to get an access code for their device as well as two additional devices like a laptop or a tablet.
Google does say they may reduce speeds of connections if they detect a user who appears to just be spending all day in the station trying to download large files. This is being done to prevent a negative impact on other users. Google says this throttling may start after the first hour of being connected.
source: Google Asia Pacific
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