US search giant Google has expanded its public wifi hotspot venture outside railway stations for the first time.
The company said it took the first such move in Pune, setting up 150 wifi hotspots for people to access.
The hotspots have been operational in many of India’s big railway stations for nearly three years, including Mumbai Central and Chennai Central.
The search giant said it continues to invest in its railway station network, and has reached 270 stations so far. The goal, it said, is to reach 400 stations.
Google started providing the facility in tie-up with Railtel at a time when wireless Internet access was prohibitively expensive, and watching Youtube videos for an hour would would cost around Rs 150.
Thanks to the 4G revolution unleashed by Reliance Jio, a person can today watch 50 hours of Youtube videos for the same amount.
Nevertheless, Google’s hotspots — which offer the first half an hour free — continue to find favor among bored railway passengers in a country where long-distance trains often run late by hours.
Google’s first steps outside railway stations have been in Pune, which is undergoing an infrastructure revamp under the leadership of construction major Larsen & Toubro to make it a ‘smart city’ as part of a national program.
While the company took nearly two years to cover its first 150 railway stations, it has started off its Pune venture with 150 hotspots in the first week itself.
The public Wifi hotspots have been set up at gardens, hospitals, police stations, and offices, the company said.
The full list of free Google Hotspots in Pune includes landmarks such as Mahatma Gandhi Udyan, Lumbini Park, Hutatma Smarak, Symbiosis Society and dozens of police stations.