After a successful implementation of it free Wi-Fi internet service in India, Google is now targeting to bring it free internet project to Nigeria. The project which is aimed to afford over 10 million Nigerians with free internet data services is set to go into full bloom in 2019, with focus on five Nigeria cities.
This was made known on Thursday at the second Google for Nigeria event in Lagos, where the company announced updates on its Go products suites such as Google Go, YouTube Go, Google Maps Go and Android Go.
Speaking at the unveiling of the Google stations, the Google Nigeria Country Director, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, said the initiative would address affordability and access to data as well as broadband penetration.
According to her, the free Wi-Fi will roll out in partnership with other Internet Service Provider with extensive fibre network, 21st Century, adding that the company was open to partnerships with other ISPs and telcos.
Ehimuan-Chiazor said, “One of the challenges we found was access to data. Broadband penetration is low and are not reliable and there are challenges with affordability; just allow many Nigerians benefit from the digital economy. We are very excited to be able to launch in collaboration with partners.
“We are starting in Lagos with four sites, and the commitment is to expand to 200 sites across five cities in Nigeria by 2019. There are opportunities that are available once people get online and are able to consume information.”
Commenting on the initiative, the Vice-President, Products Management, Google, Anjali Joshi, said the initiative would be scaled to other countries in Africa, although was not specific as to which African country would be the next, or when.
Remember back in 2017, Google had introduced similar project in India, but was not totally accepted by the government of India. But commenting on these developments yesterday, the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, in his keynote address at the event, said the Federal Government was ready to support initiatives that were in line with the Information and Communications Technology road map of the country.
As part of the commitment of the government to supporting technology development, he stated that an innovation centre would be unveiled at the Enterprise Development Centre of the Lagos Business School next week, a center which he describeed as being part of the commitment of the Federal Government to create an ecosystem for technology development in the country.