Google’s ‘Station’ wifi program, which provides free internet at railway stations over 400 railway stations in India and over 5000 locations worldwide since 2016 will shut down in 2020 TechCrunch reports. Know why is the program going to shut down despite being hailed a success? What will happen next?
Reasons for winding up
According to QUARTZ, The program is shutting its operations mainly for two reasons.
1. Mobile data is now very cheap in many countries and the requirement of free hotspots has decreased immensely.
2. It had become difficult for Google to run a sustainable business model to scale the program.
TechCrunch report by Manish Singh points out that Google had explored ways to monetize the Google Station program by showing advertisements when a user signed in to through its internet service. But it looks like the company never made much revenue from this model.
Google had tried showing advertisements to users when they signed in through Google Station, but that appears not to have generated enough revenue.
According to the IndianExpress report, Google’s contract for the Station WiFi program with RailTel was also till 2020 and is ending.
After getting the news, RailTel has confirmed that it will continue to provide free WiFi at over 5,600 railway stations across India.