Google has been providing us with free internet over WiFi in most of the major railway stations across India. After two years since they have started the free service, known as Google Station Program, now they have started testing a paid model of the service. The program was first started as a trial at Mumbai central in 2016 and later expanded to other stations, in collaboration with RailTel.
Initially the service was monitized by ads. But now google has decided to charge the customers for the service. The paid program is under testing and had already started at various stations in Mumbai. According to sources, Google’s new pricing is going to start from ₹19 for 24 hours of high speed WiFi internet.
There is a premium option too available which gives the user unlimited access to Google’s WiFi across different supported stations across the country. A screenshot of shared by a Reddit user shows that there are three plans available. A free plan, 24 hours plan and a one week premium plan.
The free plan gives access to 30 minutes of high speed data to the user. After 30 minutes, the speed will decrease. The 24 hours plan comes with a charge of ₹19, and offer unlimited high speed data for 24 hours. The weekly plan will be useful for daily travelers. It comes at a charge of ₹149 per week and offers unlimited High speed data across all supported stations.
The news came as a shock to many people as the WiFi was offered for free till date. But Google spokesperson confirmed that even though they are testing a paid model, there will always be a free option. The Google station currently provides high speed WiFi to over 230 railway stations, and is targeted to hit 400 mark in near future. Google is also reportedly planning to expand the service to educational institutions as well.