A man listens to music as he waits for his train at Churchgate railway station in Mumbai December 5, 2012. Almost all rail operations in India are handled by state-owned organisation Indian Railways - one of the biggest and busiest rail networks in the world operating9,000 passenger trains and transporting up to 20 million passengers every day. Indian Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal will unveil the railway budget on February 26, 2013 amid speculation that the government could raise fares for the second time in two months to help mend the network’s finances. Picture taken December 5, 2012.    REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar (INDIA - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY TRANSPORT)

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Google is supplying India with free internet at 400 railway stations

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Google is supporting one of the world’s biggest free Wi-Fi projects through India, reaching 8 million people at 400 railway stations.

Published   |  Photo by Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
A man listens to music as he waits for his train at Churchgate railway station in Mumbai December 5, 2012. Almost all rail operations in India are handled by state-owned organisation Indian Railways - one of the biggest and busiest rail networks in the world operating9,000 passenger trains and transporting up to 20 million passengers every day. Indian Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal will unveil the railway budget on February 26, 2013 amid speculation that the government could raise fares for the second time in two months to help mend the network’s finances. Picture taken December 5, 2012.    REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar (INDIA - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY TRANSPORT)

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Google Station started in 2015 to tackle one of India’s most infamous distinctions: The world’s second-largest smartphone market, on incredibly slow 4G internet.

A man listens to music as he waits for his train at Churchgate railway station in Mumbai December 5, 2012. Almost all rail operations in India are handled by state-owned organisation Indian Railways - one of the biggest and busiest rail networks in the world operating9,000 passenger trains and transporting up to 20 million passengers every day. Indian Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal will unveil the railway budget on February 26, 2013 amid speculation that the government could raise fares for the second time in two months to help mend the network’s finances. Picture taken December 5, 2012.    REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar (INDIA - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY TRANSPORT)

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India has often lagged behind the rest of Asia on internet speeds, often ranking at or near the bottom in broadband adoption and megabits per second.

A man listens to music as he waits for his train at Churchgate railway station in Mumbai December 5, 2012. Almost all rail operations in India are handled by state-owned organisation Indian Railways - one of the biggest and busiest rail networks in the world operating9,000 passenger trains and transporting up to 20 million passengers every day. Indian Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal will unveil the railway budget on February 26, 2013 amid speculation that the government could raise fares for the second time in two months to help mend the network’s finances. Picture taken December 5, 2012.    REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar (INDIA - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY TRANSPORT)

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Internet users in India

A man listens to music as he waits for his train at Churchgate railway station in Mumbai December 5, 2012. Almost all rail operations in India are handled by state-owned organisation Indian Railways - one of the biggest and busiest rail networks in the world operating9,000 passenger trains and transporting up to 20 million passengers every day. Indian Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal will unveil the railway budget on February 26, 2013 amid speculation that the government could raise fares for the second time in two months to help mend the network’s finances. Picture taken December 5, 2012.    REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar (INDIA - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY TRANSPORT)

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But projects like Google Station are a step towards easing the burden of those congested networks—and the relatively high data speeds far outclass even paid service.

A man listens to music as he waits for his train at Churchgate railway station in Mumbai December 5, 2012. Almost all rail operations in India are handled by state-owned organisation Indian Railways - one of the biggest and busiest rail networks in the world operating9,000 passenger trains and transporting up to 20 million passengers every day. Indian Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal will unveil the railway budget on February 26, 2013 amid speculation that the government could raise fares for the second time in two months to help mend the network’s finances. Picture taken December 5, 2012.    REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar (INDIA - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY TRANSPORT)

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According to Google, users on the free railway Wi-Fi network consume 350MB of data per session—and more than half are daily repeat customers.

A man listens to music as he waits for his train at Churchgate railway station in Mumbai December 5, 2012. Almost all rail operations in India are handled by state-owned organisation Indian Railways - one of the biggest and busiest rail networks in the world operating9,000 passenger trains and transporting up to 20 million passengers every day. Indian Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal will unveil the railway budget on February 26, 2013 amid speculation that the government could raise fares for the second time in two months to help mend the network’s finances. Picture taken December 5, 2012.    REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar (INDIA - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY TRANSPORT)

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Railways are just the start, with more public spaces in the queue. As Google wryly noted, “We realize not everyone in India lives or works near a train station.”

A man listens to music as he waits for his train at Churchgate railway station in Mumbai December 5, 2012. Almost all rail operations in India are handled by state-owned organisation Indian Railways - one of the biggest and busiest rail networks in the world operating9,000 passenger trains and transporting up to 20 million passengers every day. Indian Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal will unveil the railway budget on February 26, 2013 amid speculation that the government could raise fares for the second time in two months to help mend the network’s finances. Picture taken December 5, 2012.    REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar (INDIA - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY TRANSPORT)

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How Indians use the internet

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