Google launches free Wi-Fi in Nigeria
New Delhi : Tech giant Google has launched a network of free Wi-Fi hotspots in Nigeria in an effort to increase its presence in the African country. The US technology firm, owned by Alphabet Inc, has joined hands with Nigerian fibre cable network provider 21st Century to provide its public Wi-Fi service, Google Station, in six places in the commercial capital Lagos, including the city’s airport.
A research confirms that Internet usage is relatively low in Nigeria. Some 25.7 per cent of the population made use of the internet in 2016, according to World Bank data. The poor internet infrastructure stands as an obstacle in operating businesses in Africa’s largest oil producer country. The reason behind is that almost 190 million people in Nigeria could not afford Broadband service and even some consider it has unreliable.
“We are rolling out the service in Lagos today but the plan is to quickly expand to other locations,” Anjali Joshi, Google’s vice president for product management, told Reuters in Lagos.
Google keeps the target to provide internet services to millions of Nigerians in 200 public spaces across five cities by the end of 2019. The company said that it would generate cash from the service in Nigeria by placing Google adverts in the login portal.
Also, Google has plans to share revenues with its partners to help them maintain and deploy the Wi-Fi service but did not disclose the expected advertising revenue split. Now, Nigeria is the fifth country to launch Google Station. Earlier, similar services have been launched in India, Indonesia, Mexico and Thailand. The Wi Fi service is aimed at countries with fast expanding populations. The United Nations estimates Nigeria will be the world’s third most populous nation, after China and India, by 2050.