Popular
Image via Google in Africa Twitter

Google Launches Free Wifi in Nigeria—Will it Stick?

Nigerians celebrate what they hope is an end to high data costs.

There's a lot of excitement today as Nigerians anticipate free high speed Wifi services brought by Google.

Google Station is launching in Nigeria, and it promises to make free Wi-Fi facilities available in 200 sites in Lagos and five other states in the country. The facilities are going to be created between now and 2019. Google will partner with local services to build hotspots in places like markets, malls, bus stops, city centres, and cafés, and universities. The service is supposed to benefit at least 10 million Nigerians this year.

According to The Guardian, Google's vice president Anjali Joshi said that they are launching in Nigeria because the station targets countries with the "next-billion Internet users" and because the internet has "the potential to completely transform Africa." Google drive has also been launched in countries like India, Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand, and it strategically makes sense that the most populous country in Africa would be next.

At today's launch, Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo added, "It has become increasingly clear that the provision of food and health care will depend on technology."

While the launch has been framed as transforming millions of lives in Nigeria, perhaps the real benefit lies with the companies that will profit from getting millions of users online. Since Google Station will be launching in major cities its not clear whether the free public wifi will be mostly available for a middle class that already had access to wifi or if this will truly be benefiting new users.

We will have to wait and see if Google will achieve their goals of serving millions of Nigerians with free internet, but for now the promise on saving data seems to have gotten many people excited.





get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.