Yesterday, Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was present at the official launch of Google’s free Wi-Fi in Abuja. Google Station, as the initiative is officially known, was inaugurated at Wuse Market which is one of the biggest in Nigeria’s capital.
Apart from Wuse Market, Enab Plaza and Banex Plaza were also activated in a planned roll-out across the northern part of Nigeria.
Google Station Abuja was launched in partnership with Backbone Connectivity Network(BCN), an integrated communications and data management company.
At the launch, Head of Partnership Sub-Saharan Africa, Next Billion Users (NBU) for Google Seidu Abdullahi, said this is line with Google’s mission to increase global internet user count from 4 billion to over 5 billion.
Earlier today we were joined by H.E @ProfOsinbajo as we announced the expansion of Google Station to Abuja to provide free and reliable internet access to millions of people in markets and malls in Nigeria's capital city. #GoogleStationAbuja pic.twitter.com/aZbRSKWySS
— Google in Africa (@googleafrica) December 6, 2018
After thanking the team at Google and BCN, VP Yemi Osinbajo said;
“This is a very exciting day for me. A couple of months ago we were at the Silicon Valley office of Google and the CEO Sundar Pichai told me of Google Station at railway stations in India and I told him that if these work in India, we must get them to markets and places in Nigeria.”
The VP was referring to his July trip with members of the presidential Advisory Group On Technology and Creativity. He said Google Station in Abuja was a manifestation of that discussion with Sundar Pichai in Silicon Valley.
“The more Nigerians have access to the internet, the better for us as a country and our economy. This is in line with our vision to democratise access and we are looking to extend this to as many places as possible,” he concluded.
In July, Nigeria became the first West African country to have Google Station. Lagos was the first state to go live and at the time, Google said its free Wi-Fi will reach 200 locations across 5 cities by the end of 2019.