Over 1.5 million Indians are enjoying its high-speed Wi-Fi network experience across 19 railway stations in the country, especially in tier II cities, Google on Monday said. Last week, the technology giant rolled out its Wi-Fi service in four major stations -- Sealdah, Lucknow junction, Lucknow and Gorakhpur junction -- taking the total number of stations with such facility to 19, it said in a blogpost.
"While we are only at approximately 20 per cent of the rollout schedule for this year, the response has been phenomenal... At this scale, this project is a shining example of bridging the digital divide," Google said in the post. A big chunk of the country continues to access the Internet on a narrow band network, limiting experience of Internet to basic activities, it added. "Easy and affordable access to full fidelity broadband network continues to be a challenge in India and is throttling the economic impact that Internet can have," it noted.
Google saw 1 lakh users connect to the network within a week of launch at Mumbai Central and as it started rolling out the network at more stations, it saw "an exponential jump in the consumption of the network".
It also noted much higher consumption of data in tier II cities where access to high-speed broadband remains a challenge.
"Per capita consumption of data in tier II cities far exceeds consumption we are seeing in tier I cities," it said.
It further said even though users are in transit, the average consumption per user on the network is 15 times the data they would consume on a 3G pack in a day, which today is the most dominant means of access to the Internet in India.
While the primary usage is focused on infotainment, Google is seeing a lot of users in tier II cities using the network to look up and apply for jobs online.