Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo revealed that Nigeria has partnered with Google and other service providers to boost internet connectivity in the country. peaking at the Google for Nigeria in Lagos, he said, “We will be partnering with Google and other technology providers to achieve the level of connectivity that will match the creativity of our people.”
Google has already launched Google Station in 5 different locations in a bid to boost internet access in Nigeria’s biggest cities with free public WiFi. The 5 locations are Ikeja City mall, Computer Village, Domestic Airport, The Palms, Lekki, and Landmark Center.
By the end of 2019, Google Station will soon expand this network to 200 locations across five additional Nigerian cities; Port Harcourt, Abuja, Kaduna, Enugu and Ibadan.
Google has already launched similar services alongside local ervice providers in India, Indonesia, Mexico and Thailand. Google will partner with local service providers for infrastructure and locations while it offers a cloud-based platform and devices to provide and manage hot-spots.
The wifi service is not the Google’s first internet access-focused initiative in Africa. It launched Project Link through which it builds fiber-optic networks to help local internet service providers and mobile operators provide faster broadband in Ghana and Uganda. The company is also in talks with telecom operators in Kenya to launch Project Loon, to beam internet to local users using solar-powered high-altitude balloons.
While these projects are couched as moves to help more Africans come online, they are also obvious plays at increasing revenue. Increased internet access means more Africans will spend time online, likely using their products and subsequently driving revenues through advertising and paid services.