In an effort to increase its presence in Africa, Google launched a network of free Wi-Fi hotspots in the most populous country in Africa: Nigeria.
In partnership with 21st Century technologies, Nigerian fiber optic telecoms service provider, Google will provide free Wifi in selected public spaces of the country.
Google aims to make free Wi-Fi facilities available in about 200 sites in Lagos and five other states in Nigeria between now and 2019 to connect not less than 10 million. Examples of public spaces are: Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Computer Village Ikeja Lagos, The Palms Shopping Mall Lekki, University of Lagos, Ikeja City Mall and LandMark Events Center.
Nigeria is the first country in Africa, and fifth country in the world to get Google Station, after India, Indonesia, Thailand and Mexico.
The increase in internet users in Nigeira
Data cost is currently high in Nigeria. “Only 17% of Nigerians with mobile internet users have access to public Wi-Fi, and the cost of a 1GB prepaid data plan is about 8% of a Nigeria’s average monthly income while the country’s mobile broadband penetration rate is below 12%” (Web Foundation’s 2017 Affordability Report).
Expects project that Nigeria will have more than 100 million internet users by the end of 2019; up from 90 million in 2018. The numbers for smartphone ownership will also see drastic increase to about 23 million smartphones by next year.
Other recent Google initiates on the continent
Google is making search more powerful for ordinary Africans:
- Job Search launched in March in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, and is now rolling out in 29 new countries.
- “In Nigeria, Google is launching a search experience that allows users to explore health conditions based on symptoms, as well as recipe search for anyone who needs a little food inspiration.”
- Google’s sister-company Loon is partnering with Telkom Kenya to deliver connectivity to rural areas of Kenya.
As we all know, internet has become an essential commodity for all. Easy access to it in Africa will definitely boost economic growth. It will help more africans benefit from the vast opportunities available on the web.