Google Nigeria Thursday announced plans to launch a network of free Wi-Fi in five Nigerian cities to access to the Internet to over 10 million Nigerians
The company, which disclosed this at the second Google for Nigeria event in Lagos, said the the Wi-Fi will be available in 200 Google Stations in Lagos, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, Ibadan and Abuja by 2019.
“One of the challenges we found was access to data. Broadband penetration is low and 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 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,” Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, Google Nigeria country director, said.
She noted that the initiative would address affordability and access to data in places like markets, transport hubs, shopping malls, universities, thereby increase broadband penetration in the country.
“Today, at our second Google for Nigeria event, we announced more products and programs to help more people in Nigeria and across Africa benefit from the opportunities the web has to offer,” she said.
“Google Station will be rolling out in 200 locations in five cities across Nigeria by the end of 2019, bringing Wi-Fi to millions of people. Sites will include markets, transport hubs, shopping malls, universities and more.”
She said the free Wi-Fi was rolled out in partnership with an Internet Service Provider with extensive fibre network, 21st Century, adding that the company was open to partnerships with other ISPs and telcos.
Most Nigerians who access the Internet do so through their mobile phones or using mobile phone networks.
According to recent data by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), active GSM Internet subscriptions In Nigeria stood at 98,391,456 as of Q4 2017, representing a 5.82 percent growth from the previous quarter’s 92,975,682 active subscribers.