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Google Targets Untapped Market: Free Internet Access in India

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Jan. 21 2016, Updated 12:07 p.m. ET

Free Wi-Fi access to 100 railway stations

Internet giant Google is putting all its effort to allow Internet access in every corner of the world. To achieve this, the company has come up with a project called Loon, developed by Alphabet’s (GOOG) Google X, aimed at providing Internet access to rural and remote areas.

Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Alphabet, announced the company’s plan to increase Internet access in India (EPI). Google will collaborate with the Indian government to provide free Wi-Fi Internet access to 100 railway stations by the end of 2016.

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During the conference at New Delhi, Pichai said that Mumbai Central will be first railway station to get free Wi-Fi Internet access and, later on, will roll out to other stations. In October 2015, Alphabet said that it is also targeting Indonesia to provide Internet access with the help of Project Loon.

One billion people stay offline

Google is concerned about its services such as Search, Gmail, and YouTube, which are not available to some part of India due to lack of internet access. According to McKinsey & Company, around 1 billion people in India do not have access to the Internet. According to analysts, Google is trying to increase its user-base by targeting the untapped area, which can later be monetized through ad dollars.

Facebook (FB) is also working on a project, Free Basics, to allow free internet access to some mobile apps and dedicated websites. However, the project could be violating the net-neutrality principle, which says that “web providers should not be able to control which websites users can access.”

The PowerShares QQQ ETF (QQQ) is a portfolio of 107 stocks, of which eBay (EBAY), Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN), and Google (GOOG) constitute 0.65%, 7.4%, 5.1%, and 4.5%, respectively.

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