Last September, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced a fairly ambition plan to bring free WiFi to 400 railway stations across India, a goal that would cover 10 million passengers a day, by the company’s count, making a small but meaningful impact on the estimated one billion-plus people in the country who aren’t connected to the internet.
In January, the roll out started, bringing high speed wireless to Mumbai Central station. Last week, the company announced that it had hit the 100 station milestone in under a year, an honor that belongs to the Udhagamandalam (Ooty) station, putting the plan at a quarter of its originally goal.
In an interview this week, Indian Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu announced that the partnership would double the amount of stations with WiFi in 2017, a comment that appears to have been misinterpreted by a number of local outlets to mean that Google would be bringing WiFi to an additional 200 stations next year, bringing the total up to 300 by year’s end.
While Google has yet to announce an official goal for 2017, someone at the company has since confirmed with us the source of the confusion. So, the additional 100 stations added to the list would bring the total up to 200 by year’s end. An admirable goal nonetheless.