‘Google Station’ – the tech and multimedia colossus’ free WiFi offering service looks to be taking a similar route to a host of other Google plans as Google cancels involvement into the service in South Africa within 3 months of first announcing it.
Google Station was first introduced in South Africa in November 2019 and since then has quietly filled its role until now, reports Business Insider.
The service went online in 125 locations near and around Cape Town as part of Google’s global initiative to offer free, open-access internet access that is “fast”, “reliable” and “for everyone”. The service was intended to give populations affected by high unemployment and high crime rates, especially in countries like Mexico, India and the Philippines. Though the project initially began in India.
“We’re humbled that our work has been able to help millions of people experience the power of the internet for the first time,” said a spokesperson.
However, the service will no longer be under Google’s umbrella through 2020 as it has handed over operations to partner company Think WiFi. A South African based WiFi company with objectives in closing the digital divide – assumedly a good fit.
“We are transferring our Station operations in South Africa to Think WiFi who will now carry out the project independently,” Business Insider quotes a spokesperson.
Google’s reasoning for abandoning the initiative in South Africa was obscure. Stating that its plans were to be re-evaluated because of “re-complex and varying technical requirements across countries and partners” and that it would “work with Think WiFi on a plan to transition the service to them, and continue to support them until the end of 2020.”
Google states it remains committed to finding ways to make the internet more accessible to users around the world. Think WiFi says it will continue the service’s functions “exactly the same way users have become accustomed to”.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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