Google Inc has begun offering free WiFi to Mumbai train passengers in hopes of boosting its role in the Indian market.
Giggling groups of students, bored commuters and snack-shop vendors were all logging on Friday at Mumbai Central train station, the first of 400 stations the company plans to eventually reach with the service.
WiFi is rare across India. Most of the country’s 300 million Internet users pay for personal access and often rely on slow-loading smartphone connectivity.
With more than 23 million people a day riding Indian trains, Google said the station service will give high-speed access that many can’t afford. It also hopes to diversify India’s user base, with women now making up less than a third of India’s Internet users.