Google takes wifi on a road trip to Mexico

Hot air ballons over the pyramids of Teotihuacan in Mexico

Over the course of 2017 Google was making a lot of noise about its connectivity mission in India, but now it is sharing its wifi love in Mexico.

Google has announced it is working with Internet service provider Sitwifi to convert their existing hotspots to Google Station, the internet giants own wifi platform. Google Station will now be available in 60 high-traffic venues across Mexico City and nationwide, including airports, shopping malls and public transit stations. The aim is to take this number north of 100 by the end of the year.

“In Mexico, the third highest Internet penetration country in Latin America, most people access the web through mobile,” Google’s Jack Fermon said in a blog post. “But even as data plans are more affordable than ever, people are always looking for ways to enjoy the web without using up their data. And access to information is still a challenge for many.”

Mexico is now the third country to gain the attention of the Google Station team, following successful ventures in India and Indonesia. In India, the initiative started with train stations but has now been expanded to smart cities, following a partnership with engineering and construction company Larsen and Toubro. This partnership will focus on bringing 150 Google Station hotspots to the city of Pune, on top of the 270 railway stations which are already connected.

Indonesia was next on the road trip after partnerships with service providers CBN and FiberStar. This initiative is focused on bringing ‘hundreds’ of hotspots to the regions of Java and Bali. The rollout also included the launch of its data-friendly YouTube Go app, after the same version proved to be a hit in India. As with India, Google is getting into the connectivity game in a region which is seemingly about to explode into the digital economy.

Mexico could be seen as another country which fits the bill. It has a large, relatively Westernised population which is currently underserved from a connectivity perspective in certain areas. While there are internet services in all of these countries, the penetration of areas such as ride-hailing, eCommerce or digital banking is low compared to European or North American markets. It is a sensible place for Google to make a mark as it looks to supplement its core search advertising business.

As with India and Indonesia, Google will provide free, high-bandwidth internet access to individuals who would not be able to gain access otherwise. The initial outlay might be a bit of a cost, but don’t forget the more people who are on the internet, the more people who will be using the default Google browser and the more money the internet giant makes. As with everything in the business world, philanthropy comes with a profit in mind.

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