Google has announced that Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, will be the first to enjoy its free public Wi-Fi service.
The Google Station initiative is already active in five countries globally and will connect millions of users via 200 Wi-Fi hotspots spread across five cities in Nigeria within one year, the company disclosed at its Google for Nigeria event Thursday.
Google is not deploying its Moonshot Project Loon to provide connectivity, instead, it is partnering with Nigerian fibre optic telecoms service provider 21st Century to roll out Wi-Fi spots at public places such as colleges, malls, markets and bus stations.
The tech giant is not paying the service provider and venue owners for the internet access but they will be sharing ad revenues generated from usage of Google Station.
The fast Wi-Fi project is an important component of the company’s Next Billion Users plan to develop products for the next billion internet users, the company said. And the company has its eyes set firmly on emerging markets such as Brazil, Indonesia, India, and Nigeria to get more users online.
The future of the internet is in the hands of the next billion users—the latest generation of internet users to come online on smartphones in places like Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and Nigeria, said Caesar Sengupta, the project lead.
“The next billion users are already changing the internet in three key ways: a mobile-only mindset, an instinct for ubiquitous computing, and a demand for localized content,” Sengupta said.
Prior to the Nigeria launch, Google Station service was available in India, Indonesia, Mexico and Thailand.
“We are offering new solutions to improve and expand access in Nigeria and across Africa; these launches demonstrate our commitment to Africa through products built to help people in Africa to make the most of the Internet,” said Google Nigeria Country Director, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor.