Having successfully launched its free public WiFi initiative called Google Station in Lagos earlier this year, the technology giant, Google has extended the free public Wi-Fi service to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.
Google describes Station as a program to provide high quality, high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots. Abuja has already been added to the Google Station global map.
Speaking during the launch, Nigeria’s vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo said: “It’s incredible that today we have here at the Wuse market free Wi-Fi facilities in fulfillment of that promise that was made some months ago. One of the key reasons why it is important for us to do this is because of our own policy as a government to ensure that we democratize access in various ways so that the man in the street, the common man, can have access to the things that other people have. That informs our putting solar power in markets.
“We were in Sabon Gari market the other day, where we have shops that are now powered by solar power and also by bio-fuels. We decided that we’ll power the markets, Sabon Gari is one, Ariaria Market is another. As a matter of fact, Ariaria has solar and a formal plant right there. We also have one in Lagos, (gas-fired) at the Sura Market and several other markets.
“The reason, of course, is that economic sites, where many of our people do their business must be powered. We must give them the same sort of access that bigger industries have; that bottom of the pyramid, the people in the streets, not just the people who buy and sell. You find such guys, who, after retiring from pushing their barrows and trying to get their business done, have access to Wi-Fi.”
The free Wi-Fi initiative is expected to create more economic opportunities for Nigerians through bridging societal gaps by providing free Internet access to some of the poorest in society, which means access to information, tools of education, improved business and job opportunities and expansion for many Nigerians.