Free Wi-Fi Service Google Station Launched In Cape Town

Google Station's connect page.

Google Station's connect page.

Google

Google Station, the free Wi-Fi service from the search giant, has been launched on the Cape Flats, an area outside Cape Town where informal settlements have proliferated.Google Station, the free Wi-Fi service from the search giant, has been launched on the Cape Flats, an area outside Cape Town where informal settlements have proliferated.

“Google Station offers fast, free, open-access to the internet through Wi-Fi,” said David Shapiro of Google’s Next Billion Users Initiative at its first Google for South Africa event in Johannesburg, 

Google Station is now available in some 125 locations across Langa, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Delft, Elsies River, and Philippi. These areas are some of the most underserved communities in the country, with high unemployment and crime rates. 

“By gaining access to information via the internet, we hope that people in these communities will get a more equal opportunity to learn and develop and live more empowered lives,” says Nitin Gajria, Google Africa director.

The service will be provided by Think WiFi, a South African internet service provider, which Google supports to convert fibre connections into hotspots. Google Station, which was launched in India in 2015, is also operational in Brazil, Nigeria, Indonesia and Mexico.

“Through our partnership, Think WiFi and Google will provide unlimited Wi-Fi access to communities in townships, public areas, universities, transportation hubs and shopping malls, laying the foundations for broad-based, inclusive participation in the benefits industry 4.0 brings," says Think WiFi CEO Janine Rebelo. 

The free service already has advertising from state-owned telecoms operator Telkom and video streaming service Showmax.

Google also announced it was bringing several other services to the country, including its Google Go product which it says makes it easier to discover the internet, especially on cheaper smartphones or and bad signals. It also introduced its Bolo speech-based reading app that helps kids learn how to read in English, which is already in India, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.

Last year, the Google Impact Challenge awarded $6 million to 36 non-profit organisations across the continent, including 12 from South Africa. It announced that it will spend a further $1 million over the next five year with non-profits and social enterprises for the economic empowerment of girls and women in South Africa. "One of the key focus areas of our programmes has been the empowerment of women and minority groups, and I’m happy to say that 48% of the people we have trained in South Africa are women,” says Asha Patel, head of marketing for Google South Africa.

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Google Station, the free Wi-Fi service from the search giant, has been launched on the Cape Flats, an area outside Cape Town where informal settlements have proliferated.Google Station, the free Wi-Fi service from the search giant, has been launched on the Cape Flats, an area outside Cape Town where informal settlements have proliferated.

“Google Station offers fast, free, open-access to the internet through Wi-Fi,” said David Shapiro of Google’s Next Billion Users Initiative at its first Google for South Africa event in Johannesburg, 

Google Station is now available in some 125 locations across Langa, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Delft, Elsies River, and Philippi. These areas are some of the most underserved communities in the country, with high unemployment and crime rates. 

“By gaining access to information via the internet, we hope that people in these communities will get a more equal opportunity to learn and develop and live more empowered lives,” says Nitin Gajria, Google Africa director.

The service will be provided by Think WiFi, a South African internet service provider, which Google supports to convert fibre connections into hotspots. Google Station, which was launched in India in 2015, is also operational in Brazil, Nigeria, Indonesia and Mexico.

“Through our partnership, Think WiFi and Google will provide unlimited Wi-Fi access to communities in townships, public areas, universities, transportation hubs and shopping malls, laying the foundations for broad-based, inclusive participation in the benefits industry 4.0 brings," says Think WiFi CEO Janine Rebelo. 

The free service already has advertising from state-owned telecoms operator Telkom and video streaming service Showmax.

Google also announced it was bringing several other services to the country, including its Google Go product which it says makes it easier to discover the internet, especially on cheaper smartphones or and bad signals. It also introduced its Bolo speech-based reading app that helps kids learn how to read in English, which is already in India, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.

Last year, the Google Impact Challenge awarded $6 million to 36 non-profit organisations across the continent, including 12 from South Africa. It announced that it will spend a further $1 million over the next five year with non-profits and social enterprises for the economic empowerment of girls and women in South Africa. "One of the key focus areas of our programmes has been the empowerment of women and minority groups, and I’m happy to say that 48% of the people we have trained in South Africa are women,” says Asha Patel, head of marketing for Google South Africa.

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