High-Speed Public Wi-Fi in India: Google and Cisco to Make It Possible

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The high-speed public Wifi in India will soon be extended to many more places and beyond Bangalore. All thanks to Google and Cisco.

On Monday, Cisco revealed that it will roll out free high-speed Wifi zones across India through gStation, in partnership with Google. The announcement took place at the Cisco India Summit in Kochi.

Cisco is looking forward to work with Google’s gStation to install free, open, and high-speed public Wfi in India. The tech giant is aiming to cover high traffic areas which do not include railway stations.

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High-Speed Public WiFi in India: Beyond 500 Locations

The free high-speed Wifi network is expected to mark its debut with 200 locations in Bengaluru in a coming couple of months. The Wi-Fi zones will be launched in public places like bus stops, hospitals, government offices, etc. There are currently 25 such Wi-Fi zones already running in the city.

After covering about 500 locations in Bengaluru, Cisco aims at expanding the project to other cities and villages. Covering rural areas is also an important aspect of the project. Cisco has planned to collaborate with the government agencies to cover that part of the country.   

It is reported that the public Wifi in India project has already started its first phase of implementation. This is a part of a major project that has the vision to connect 1.3 billion Indians to the digital economy. Bengaluru is expecting the first phase of the project, offering access to this high-speed public Wi-Fi zone, to be installed by September 2019. The second phase will cover the other 300 locations in the city.

A TRAI report states that for every 150 people, there is one Wifi hotspot globally. If we want to achieve the same mark in India we need to install around eight million more hotspots. Our country currently has around 52,000 installed Wi-Fi hotspots. The project will also create market opportunities for infrastructure providers and internet service providers.

Sameer Garde, President, Cisco India & SAARC, said, “Moving from slow to high-speed Internet access will increase user engagement and benefit millions of Internet users throughout the economic spectrum. This also represents a significant growth opportunity; the demand for public Wi-Fi hotspots is expected to go up by 100X over the next 3 years.”

Garde also highlighted the fact that in the next 3 years the demand for public Wi-Fi hotspots is expected to go up by 100x. He seems to be right as the growing popularity of video content and data-hungry mobile phone users are relying more on WiFi hotspot than mobile data network.

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Sajith Sivanandan, Managing Director and Business Head, Google Pay and Next Billion User Initiatives, India, said, “The proliferation of public Wi-Fi in India can provide a significant boost to the government’s digital ambitions of ubiquitous connectivity and digital inclusion and serve as a complementary network for telcos and offer users full high fidelity experience across India.”

Garde also indicated the involvement of channel partners in the entire project.

The Cisco VNI report states that we can expect a transition of almost 59% of the internet traffic from cellular networks to Wi-Fi by the year 2022. Hence, this project is a great opportunity to spread the Wi-Fi network and make it accessible to as many people as is possible.   

Both Google and Facebook started rolling out free public Wifi for railways in 2016.  

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