Kochi: Cisco today revealed its plans to roll out free high-speed Wi-Fi zones across India leveraging Google’s gStation platform. It will work with Google’s gStation platform to provide communities around the country access to a free, open, high-quality public Wi-Fi.
The company announced its plans during the Cisco India Summit 2019 in Kochi.
The announcement is part of Cisco’s shared vision of connecting 1.3 billion Indians to the digital economy. The implementation of this project’s first phase has already begun, under which 200 locations across Bengaluru will be Wi-Fi enabled by September 2019 and 300 more will be added in the second phase. Most of these locations are public spaces like bus stops, hospitals, government offices, etc.
“Moving from slow to high-speed Internet access will increase user engagement and benefit millions of Internet users throughout the economic spectrum. The success of digitization and digital citizen services is also closely tied to the proliferation of high-speed internet,” said Sameer Garde, President – Cisco India & SAARC.
“We are excited to partner with Google to bring free, open, high-quality internet access to everyone in India. This also represents a significant growth opportunity, the demand for public Wi-Fi hotspots is expected to go up by 100X over the next 3 years, creating new markets for Cisco and our partners,” added Garde.
“Solving for access is one of the core pillars of our Next Billion Users strategy, and with gStation we have developed a best in class public WiFi solution that provides a seamless, high-quality broadband experience to users. The results from gStation’s railway station rollout have been hugely encouraging, and we’re delighted to join hands with Cisco to broaden gStation’s coverage in the city of Bengaluru,” said Sajith Sivanandan, MD and Business Head – Google Pay and Next Billion User Initiatives, India.
“Our approach is to help create abundance where there is scarcity and do it sustainably. The proliferation of public Wi-Fi in India can provide a significant boost to the government’s digital ambitions of ubiquitous connectivity and digital inclusion and serve as a complementary network for telcos and offer users full high fidelity experience across India,” added Sivanandan.
Globally there is one Wi-Fi hotspot for every 150 people, according to a TRAI report but in India, 8 million additional hotspots required to achieve the same ratio, creating new market opportunities for infrastructure providers and internet service providers.
India has only 52,000 Wi-Fi hotspots today, necessitating a proactive strategy to make high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots ubiquitous across the country.
Public Wi-Fi also provides an opportunity to develop a broader connectivity ecosystem, which can not only benefit users and wireless ISPs but also telecom service providers, handset manufacturers, and venue owners.
It is already seeing widespread acceptance by service providers globally and has evolved as a complementary network for traffic offload purposes — offloading from congested cellular networks on to lower-cost-per-bit Wi-Fi networks extending the coverage of mobile networks within buildings and other public spots like cafés and restaurants, retail chains, hotels, airports, planes and trains for customers and guests.
Nearly 59 percent of Internet traffic will be offloaded from cellular networks to Wi-Fi by 2022, wherein lies the tremendous opportunity for ubiquitous dispersion of Wi-Fi, according to the Cisco VNI report.