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Google brings free WiFi to Indonesia

Google is extending its successful Google Station program to Indonesia. The company is partnering with internet service providers (ISPs), venue owners, and system integrators in Indonesia to provide consumers with free access to Wi-Fi at railway stations, universities, and other public areas.

The expansion of the program, which was first launched in India 18 months earlier, could bring more users online, expanding Google’s global footprint and bolstering its potential ad revenue. Google Station can, in effect, boost the country’s rising internet penetration. Internet users in Indonesia increased 51% year-over-year (YoY) in January 2017, however, internet penetration remains low, at 40%. 

By extending the program to Indonesia, Google is likely seeking to replicate the success of its Google Station program in India:

  • Free internet access has resulted in an early uptick in daily internet usage in India.In 2016, it was found that, on average, consumers used 15 times more data each day on Google’s Wi-Fi network than they did on their cell networks.
  • Offering high-speed data for free could mean new users associate Google with fast internet. Each day, around 15,000 people use one of these stations in India to connect to the internet for the first time, according to Google India Head of Connectivity Gulzar Azad.

Google Station is just the latest effort by the company to connect the next billion users by catering to the needs of those in emerging markets. Google has previously released products and services targeted toward these smartphone users. Just last week, Google began experimenting with a light version of its Search app in Indonesia. The company is also rolling out Android Go, a low-data and budget-friendly version of the upcoming version of Android for developing markets.

However, Google is not alone in turning to Indonesia to build out a user base. In 2015, Facebook launched its connectivity initiative, the Internet.org mobile app, in Indonesia, to get more people online. The app includes numerous connectivity strategies, including the Free Basics app, which enables consumer access to certain

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