Nigeria To Receive Free WiFi From Google; Aftermath Of Vice President Osinbajo’s Visit

Google has announced that Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, will be the first on the continent to receive Google’s free public Wi-Fi service.

The company made the disclosure at its Google for Nigeria Event in Lagos stating that Google on initiative is already live in five countries globally and will connect millions of users via 200 Wi-Fi hotspots spread across five cities in Nigeria within one year.

Country Director, Google Nigeria, Juliet Chiazor, said, “Today, at our second Google for Nigeria event, we announced more products and programs to help more people in Nigeria and across Africa benefit from the opportunities the web has to offer.

“Google Station will be rolling out in 200 locations in five cities across Nigeria by the end of 2019, bringing Wi-Fi to millions of people. Sites will include markets, transport hubs, shopping malls, universities and more.”

Google also disclosed that they are not deploying their moonshot Project Loon to provide connectivity, instead, it is partnering with Nigerian fiber optic telecoms service provider 21st Century to roll out Wi-Fi spots at public places such as colleges, malls, markets and bus stations.

Moreover, the tech giant is not paying the service provider and venue owners for the internet access but they will be sharing ad revenues generated from usage of Google Station.

According to Web Foundation’s 2017 Affordability Report, only 17% of Nigerians with mobile internet users have access to public Wi-Fi, and the cost of a 1GB prepaid data plan is about 8% of a Nigeria’s average monthly income while the country’s mobile broadband penetration rate is below 12%.

It is believed that this initiative will benefit Nigerians using the internet for the first time and those that cannot afford Nigeria’s high data cost can now access Google services in spite of the high data cost.

Recall that Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, paid a visit to Google Headquarters recently where he led a team of Nigeria’s young tech entrepreneurs.

The entrepreneurs were drawn from the recently inaugurated the Advisory Group on Technology and Creativity, a subset of theNational Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council established by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017.

Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, who expressed excitements at the Vice President’s visit to Googleplex, stressed the importance of technology and innovation in Nigeria’s growing economy.

“Happy to welcome the Vice President of Nigeria @ProfOsinbajo to the Googleplex today – great to chat with him about the opportunities of Nigeria’s digital economy,” the Google boss took to his Twitter handle to say.

Discussions between Professor Osinbajo and Mr. Pichai revolved around bridging the gap between tech companies in Silicon Valley and highly qualified talent in Africa.

Professor Osinbajo, in a series of tweets stated that he is in the US for a Public-Private sector collaborative investment road show.

He said, “I am in the USA, leading a Public-Private sector collaborative investment road show. Today, I was received by senior executives of Google led by its CEO, Sundar Pichai, at the firm’s Headquarters.”

He added that he also met with LinkedIn management “In addition, I have met with groups of key tech investors here in Silicon Valley and will be speaking tonight at an interactive session at the LinkedIn headquarters.”

“At the Fireside chat with Allen Blue, Co-Founder of LinkedIn, I described the role the role of the recently inaugurated Technology and Creativity Advisory Group to drive policy in tech innovation and entertainment.”

The Vice President was also hosted in a series of investment forums in Silicon Valley interacting with key US technology firms promoting Nigeria tech firms.

This latest development by Google simply depicts the power and professionalism of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s interaction with the global world.

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After Vice President Osinbajo’s Visit to Silicon Valley, Public WiFi Coming To Nigeria, Says Google

Aftermath of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s trip to Silicon Valley in Califoria, United States, with some Nigerian tech entrepreneurs, Google has announced it would launch a network of free Wi-Fi hotspots in 200 locations and five cities across Nigeria by the end of 2019.

The development comes as part of Professor Osinbajo’s efforts to attract investments into Nigeria’s burgeoning tech space and .boost the country’s tech industry.

The initiative, which is in partnership with Nigerian fiber optic telecoms service provider 21st Century, will roll out Wi-Fi spots at public places such as colleges, malls, markets and bus stations.

Speaking at the Google for Nigeria event, Professor Osinbajo said, “Africa is confronted with existential challenges, and there is simply no time to waste in resolving these problems. The answer that providence has given us is technology.”

He added: “The great purveyors of technology such as our hosts today Google, and their collaborators – 21st Century Technologies Limited and Backbone Connectivity Network (BCN), are not mere corporations in search of profit and some social good, they literarily hold the future of generations of humanity in their hands.”

According to the Vice President, the partnership is particularly important to the country “because we have in the past one year, in our energizing markets project, been providing solar power to markets and economic clusters across the country.

“We have done extensive work in Ariaria market in Aba, Sabongari in Kano, Gbagi market in Ibadan, Sura here in Lagos, and we are starting out in Iponri, and Balogun markets.”

In her remarks, Country Director, Google Nigeria, Juliet Chiazor, said, “Today, at our second Google for Nigeria event, we announced more products and programs to help more people in Nigeria and across Africa benefit from the opportunities the web has to offer.

“Google Station will be rolling out in 200 locations in five cities across Nigeria by the end of 2019, bringing Wi-Fi to millions of people. Sites will include markets, transport hubs, shopping malls, universities and more.”

Earlier, Professor Osinbajo had inaugurated the Advisory Group on Technology and Creativity, a subset of theNational Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council established by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017. The committee members comprise private sector players with roots in technology operation. Also, the Vice President’s entourage to Silicon Valley comprises a number of tech-savvy entrepreneurs from that advisory board.

Osinbajo, at the inauguration of the advisory board, lauded the impact of technology towards driving down unemployment in the country. He noted that the board would formulate policies, programmes and projects for the Technology and Creative sectors of the country’s economy.

Similarly, Vice President Osinbajo, announced he will launch a Climate Innovation Center in partnership with the Enterprise Development Center at the Lagos Business School.

This according to him forms part of the nation’s ICT roadmap, in which the private sector is an important stakeholder.

His words: “Our goal is to create a data-driven digital economy; one that will lead the way not just in Africa, but globally as well. And I believe strongly that Nigeria is on the right path.

“We have the people, the talent, we have a government that sees the potential very clearly, and is showing the determination to unlock that potential.”

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Vice President Osinbajo Meets Top Google Executives In First Leg Of US Investment Road Show

In line with its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, especially its strategy to diversify the economy by making technology an enabler for forex revenue earnings, the Buhari administration would be actively supporting Google’s Next Billion users plan intended to ensure greater digital access in Nigeria and around the world.

This will afford millions of Nigerians access to the Internet and particularly support content distribution.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, gave the assurance during a meeting with Google executives at the company’s corporate headquarters in the Silicon Valley at the start of the investment road show he is leading to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai welcomed the Vice President to the meeting held at Googleplex, the corporate headquarters of Google and its parent company Alphabet Inc., located in California, United States.

Nigeria has been identified as one of the major countries where the latest generation of Internet users will come from, and the next billion users are said to be already changing the Internet in three key ways: the prominent use of smartphones to access the Internet, an instinct for universal computing, and a demand for localised content.

The future of the internet is in the hands of the next billion users, as the global technology company has noted, and it is reckoned that the latest generation of internet users will come online on smartphones in places like Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Nigeria.

For Nigeria, the Google Next Billion Users plan is expected to provoke innovation on an unprecedented scale.

In the same vein, the VP and Google executives also discussed localization of content and content creation to make content cheaper and more accessible to Nigerians.

Prof. Osinbajo also discussed other areas for possible partnership with Google, including the establishment of Google Artificial Intelligence Centers in Institutions of Higher Learning in Nigeria and the establishment of a YouTube Creator space to support Nigeria’s digital content producers and enable them make money with their craft leveraging on YouTube and Google Tools.

Other areas discussed include the expansion of Google’s Launchpad Accelerator Program in Africa. Google has also indicated interest in the policy environment in Nigeria and formulation of policy to encourage partnerships and investments from Google with companies in Nigeria’s technology space.

This is in line with Nigeria’s ERGP plans, and the country’s quest to become a data driven digital economy, knowledge and business process outsourcing hub for the global market, and making gains in terms of the efficiency and transparency of process that a digital economy offers.

Also in Federal Government’s effort of ensuring a skilled work force, it is partnering with Google to increase the number of Nigerians in the global technology firm’s Launchpad Accelerator, and Google I/O Developer Festivals.

Also Google will offer training to Nigerians on Android and Web Development, Digital Marketing and Taking Business Online.

A major objective of the Vice President’s trip is to showcase to the world the progress and strides in the country’s technology, innovation and creative space by Nigerian Start-ups and entertainment industry practitioners.

At the meeting held on Monday in Silicon Valley, the Vice President also interacted with scores of Nigerians working with Google.

The Vice President later met with a series of key technology investors and also visited the headquarters of LinkedIn where he was the Special Guest at the firm’s Fireside Chat in a room packed full of Nigerians in Diaspora among others.

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Happy To Discuss Opportunities In Nigeria’s Digital Economy With VP Osinbajo – Google CEO

The chief executive officer of Google Sundar Pichai says he is happy to discuss Nigeria’s digital economy with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Pichai who discussed investment in Nigeria’s tech industry with Osinbajo was optimistic that the digital economy of the West African country was on the right path.

He wrote on Twitter, “Happy to welcome the Vice President of Nigeria @ProfOsinbajo to the Googleplex today – great to chat with him about the opportunities of Nigeria’s digital economy.”

Prof Osinbajo is leading a Public-Private sector collaborative investment road show in the United States. He was received by senior executives of Google led by its CEO at the firm’s headquarters.

The Vice President also met with groups of key tech investors in the Silicon Valley and also spoke at an interactive session at the LinkedIn headquarters.

 

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