Company looking to add million of rail-riders to the internet rolls.
Google has announced plans to make free Wi-Fi service available to hundreds of railway stations in India, according to a report on computerworld.com.
Working with the Indian Railways and RailTel, a provider of telecommunications to the railways in India, the internet company plans to cover the busiest 100 stations in India by the end of 2016. Some stations are expected to be in operation within the next few months.
The service, which will be free initially, hopes to be self-sustainable in the future, and will give internet access to more than 10 million people that use the railways each day at the top 100 stations.
The railway system in India currently has the capacity to carry 21 million people each day and is expected to carry more than 30 million passengers in the next five years.
The country now has some 300 million people connected to the internet.
The Prime Minister of India, Narenda Modi, visited Google’s headquarters on Sunday seeking support for his Digital India project, which is designed to increase the number of his citizens connected to the internet.
Modi told executives the the country wanted it’s 1.25 billion citizens to have access. He said broadband usage increased by 63 percent last year, and hoped to accelerate even faster in the future.
Although India does not systematically censor the internet as does China, the country has ordered the removal of religiously offensive material and pornography, and in the past, has had conflicts with internet providers and local users about data access by law enforcement.
Modi also made a visit to Facebook’s headquarters, where a Town Hall Q&A session was held, generating more that 40,000 questions across Facebook members, according to the company.
Facebook and Google have started development programs in India, but not without some problems of their own. Facebook’s Internet.org app has come under criticism and Google is being investigated by the Competition Commission of India over its advertising program.