Google has announced that it is ending Google Station, a program in which the search engine giant worked with a number of partners to provide free Wi-Fi at more than 400 railway stations in India and thousands of other public places in several other countries of the world.
Caesar Sengupta, VP of Payments and Next Billion Users at Google, said that the Google Station program was launched in 2015 and helped millions of users access the internet, some of them used the internet for the first time. But as mobile data prices got cheaper in many markets including India, Google Station was no longer as necessary, he said.
The company plans to discontinue the program this year and the company said that it has become difficult to find a sustainable business model to scale up the program. Google has expanded the Station program in Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand, Nigeria, the Philippines, Brazil, Vietnam, and recently launched in South Africa.
The company has experimented with the ways to monetize the Google Station program, started to show an ad when a user signed in to connect to its internet service.
Google Station as free Wi-Fi initiative first announced in late 2015 and service started at Mumbai Central in January 2016 as a means to get more Indians online by offering services at 400 train stations across the country.
Google isn’t the only tech giant that worked to offer free internet to users in developing nations. In 2016, Facebook launched Express Wi-Fi In India, after its previous internet service was banned in the country.