Google is ending the free WiFi programme it launched in SA last November
21 February 2020
After announcing free WiFi hotspots in the form of Google Station in South Africa just three months ago, Google on Monday revealed that it will end the programme this year.
The company reportedly told TechCrunch that infrastructure and other technical issues “made it difficult for Station to scale and be sustainable” for both Google and the local service providers it partnered with in many countries.
“And when we evaluate where we can truly make an impact in the future, we see greater need and bigger opportunities in making building products and features tailored to work better for the next billion-user markets,” Google’s Caesar Sengupta told the publication.
This means that pretty soon people who used Station in countries like India, Brazil and Vietnam, will no longer have access to free internet via the service.
Here in South Africa, however, the lower-income areas in Cape Town that first received Station hotspots in November, including Philippi, Khayelitsha and Gugulethu, will still have access to free WiFi.
“We are transferring our Station operations in South Africa to Think WiFi who will now carry out the project independently,” a spokesperson told Business Insider SA.
Think WiFi originally partnered with Google to set up Station in South Africa last year.
This means that, despite Google’s move, South Africans in disadvantaged communities will not lose the opportunity to connect to the internet.
The company plans to discontinue Station by the end of 2020.