Google announced today that it decided to shut down the free WiFi project "Station" worldwide this year as it became easier to get online. In 2015, Google partnered with Indian railways and railtel to launch the "station" service in India. According to the plan at that time, fast and free public WiFi will be extended to more than 400 railway stations in India by the middle of 2020.
"By June 2018, we were working with telecoms companies, ISPs and local authorities to launch the Station service in thousands of other locations in India," Caesar Sengutta, Google's vice president, said in a blog post today. Over time, partners in other countries also want to work with us to launch the Station, and we have responded accordingly.
Due to the outstanding effect of cooperation in India, Google later launched station services around the world, such as Nigeria, Thailand, the Philippines, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil and South Africa, etc., and the service places also expanded from the original stations to various public places.
But since then, internet access has become simpler and cheaper, mobile data schemes have made it affordable, and global mobile connectivity is improving, says sengupta. Furthermore, the technological and infrastructure challenges faced by Google's partners in different countries have made it difficult to scale up the service and achieve sustainable development, particularly for partners.
"To that end, we have decided to phase out this service this year," sengupta said. We are working with our partners to transform our current facilities so that they continue to be useful resources for the community. "