As Google turns 18 this month, it seems barely a day goes by without reading about another innovation from the internet giant. Not content with ruling the search engine business, and making the company name into a verb its interest are now include robots, self-driving cars, helping to cure diseases and extend internet connectivity. Today Sarah Wright looks at one of their most exciting developments, Google Fiber, which is about to launch for passengers in one of rail’s biggest territories.
Google Fiber is a high-speed fiber-optic network offering speeds up to 100 times greater than the average and quickly became a tech favourite because of the speedy streaming, downloading and browsing that it enables. For some time now rumours of Google Fiber making its way to India have been flying around. Especially since the search giant and the ever evolving India struck up deals to build Google’s largest campus – outside of the US – in Hyderabad. An effort that will create over six thousand new jobs in this Southern Indian city.
Since this development Google’s plan to install Wi-Fi across the myriad web of railways for Indian rail passengers has come to light after first being reported in Telecom Talk. Aptly named ‘Project Nilgiri’ after India’s mountain range this mammoth task is to be taken on in stages. Firstly, through the installation of free Wi-Fi in almost 400 of India’s urban and rural rail stations; phase two will bring Wi-Fi on board India’s trains. Google Fiber will replace the current limited and patchy access that is provided through satellite transmissions from MTS and Oxygen. Though it has no set dates and is still in its pilot stages the project will be a joint effort between Google, RailTel and Indian Railways, which will further cement Google’s place in India.
Project Nilgiri, though exciting, especially given its connection to the rail industry, this is not the first time Google has attempted to install free and widely accessible internet for the public. From 2006 to 2014 Google provided Wi-Fi to the areas surrounding their Mountain View California campus. In 2013 Google created high speed access to areas near their NYC Headquarters, claiming that they wanted to give something back to the place they called “home” – a likely reason they have created these plans for India. The web mogul also provides free access in parts of Austin and Kansas.
Google’s motives in all of these projects have been questioned, as it is well know that the more people that access their network and their searches then the more money they stand to make. However, web access today is something of a cornerstone in society so who can blame Google for wanting to stay at the forefront? If someone was to offer you fast, free internet access would you turn it down or choose to use their service? Personally, I think the answer is easy and Google’s project is only one in a number of similar projects that have started and will continue to spring up across the globe giving Wi-Fi access to the ever wanting user.
Vinod Bhatia, Director of Planning, Ministry of Railways India is one of a large number of leading speakers at SmartRail Asia 25-27th November 2015 (Bangkok, Thailand) brings you all the latest news, insight and expertise into the development of rail and metro in Asia. Click the banner for more and to claim your free place.
You may also be interested in: