The Google Station, a global free Wi-Fi initiative of the Internet giant that allows partner telcos to roll out free Wi-Fi hotspots in public, will be put out of commission very soon. In the Philippines, Google Station has more than 600 venues spread all across the country in train stations, airports, schools, and even coffee shops. All of them are expected to be shutdown within the year.
A foreign source talking in condition of anonymity said the reason for discontinuing the service is the failure of Google to support the platform thus making the partners lose money. “There is not enough advertising revenue to sustain the partnership with telcos” our source added.
We learned that some of the installations of the Google Station will be absorbed by partner telcos and would be rebranded to reflect the partner’s name and services.
In an official statement, Google said that the prevalence of the 4G network and the different technical requirements across countries where Google Station is deployed are the reasons behind the shutdown.
“In line with Google’s mission, we started Google Station in 2016 to help bring more people online. We’re humbled that our work has been able to help millions of people experience the power of the internet for the first time. However, the ecosystem has evolved since then–4G is getting prevalent in a number of markets and data prices are dropping globally. This, combined with the complex and varying technical requirements across partners and countries, makes it a challenge to scale and sustain Station,” the company said.
“This has made us re-evaluate our plans and we have decided to wind down the program through 2020. We are working with our partners to support our users and them to gradually transition. We remain committed to look for ways to make the internet more accessible for users around the world,” it added.
Smart Communications the local partner of Google for the Google Station project assures its customers that they will continue to enjoy fast, free and reliable Smart WiFi connectivity in its current locations.
In its official statement Smart said:
“Since it was first rolled out a few years back, Smart WiFi has always been committed to providing the best customer experience. In light of these recent developments regarding Google Station, we would like to assure our customers that they will continue to enjoy fast, free and reliable Smart WiFi connectivity in our current locations, and that more customers will soon be able to enjoy it as well as we continuously expand the reach of this carrier-grade Wi-Fi service to more areas nationwide. We are thankful for the partnership with Google and we look forward to our other partnerships and projects in the future.”
Aside from the Philippines, Google Station will also be removed in India, Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico, Nigeria, Brazil, and Vietnam.
Source: Manila Bulletin