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Google Station Tries to Bring Global Public WiFi Networks Together

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016 (8:18 am) - Score 607
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Internet giant Google seems to be into almost everything these days and now the operator has decided to enter the market for public WiFi Hotspots by launching a new suit of management tools, which could bring such access points closer together. Mind you, they’re not the first to do that.

Earlier this year the Internet technology giant began working with RailTel and Indian Railways to roll-out free public Wi-Fi Hotspots at railway stations across India, which was conducted as part of a projected called Google Station. At present 52 stations have already been covered and the expectation is that this should reach 100 by the end of 2016 and 300 in 2017.

So far, so normal. However Google Station is about more than just railways and the company has developed a clever suit of tools to help manage and maintain any public WiFi hotspots that agree to partner with its network.

The tools also allow you to get online with their Hotspots by using only a single Login + Password (we assume its a Google Account) and WiFi owners can optionally monetize their connections, such as via the management of access fees or advertising.

Crucially Google has now decided to take their proposition global and in keeping with that they’ve gone on the hunt for a broad spectrum of partners. “If you’re a large venue or organization, network operator, fibre provider, system integrator or infrastructure company, we want to work with you to bring fast Wi-Fi to more locations,” says the company.

Mind you Google are by no means the first to try unifying the global patch-work of public WiFi hotspots. The Wi-Fi Alliance has been trying to do it for years, while others like iPass have had a fair bit more success (i.e. 57 million Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide, in over 120 countries). But platforms like iPass and Boingo are paid solutions, while Google can do “free” and their established global presence offers another useful attribute.

We can certainly see some appeal in Google’s approach, although it’s probably not going to make much of a dent in the United Kingdom where we already have a plethora of well established public WiFi networks on almost every street corner. Emerging markets may be a better bet.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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