Tech giants Google have today launched a network of free Wi-Fi hotspots in Nigeria as part of its endeavor to consolidate its presence in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation.
The Alphabet Inc. owned US technology institution has partnered with 21st Century, Nigerian fibre cable network provider, to avail its public Wi-Fi service: Google Station. The service would be available in six places in the commercial capital Lagos, including the city’s airport.
Nigeria has a relatively low Internet usage which was revealed by the World Data Bank: Only 25.7 percent of the entire population had access to Internet in 2016.
Businesses operating in the country face a major challenge due to the terrible internet infrastructure, which is embarrassing considering the fact that the country is Africa’s biggest producer of oil. More than 70% of Nigeria’s 190 million citizens do not have access to the internet as Broadband services are either unreliable or un-affordable.
Anjali Joshi, Google’s Vice President for Product Management in Lagos told Reuters: “We are kick-starting the service today in Lagos but we intend to rapidly expand to other locations.”
He also revealed that the company aimed to work together with internet servive providers to reach millions of Nigeria in 200 public spaces, across five cities by the end of 2019. Cash would be generated from the service by placing Google adverts on the login portal. Google did not disclose the amount invested in the project.
In order to maintain and deploy the Wi-Fi service, Google revealed it planned to split revenues with its partners though the expected advertising revenue sharing percentage was not disclosed.
Google Station has been launched in four countries previously namely; India, Indonesia, Mexico and Thailand; which means Nigeria is the fifth country to recieve this service.
Countries with rapidly increasing populations are being targeted by Google for its public Wi-Fi service. The United Nations predicts that by 2050 Nigeria will become the world’s third most populous nation, after China and India.
Recall that earlier this month Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo paid a visit to Google’s Silicon Valley headquarter’s to meet the company’s chief executive, Sundar Pichai.