Google is Looking to Boost Internet Usage by Trialling WiFi Hotspot Partnerships in Jakarta
Aulia Masna - 28 October 2013
On Sunday, The Next Web linked to a report from Google Operating System, a blog dedicated to uncovering all news about Google, on the trial of city-wide wireless Internet hotspot roll out by Google in Jakarta. Yes, it’s embarrassing when you’re outscooped of your own city’s news by a foreign blog. The trial allows Android users in Jakarta to enjoy fast Google-powered WiFi connection at a handful of spots in the city. Contrary to popular beliefs, WiFi hotspots in Jakarta are plenty but many are carrier-dependent, simply unreliable, or a pain to register to.
Google’s trial requires consumers to install the WiFi Passport application from Google Play on their Android phones or tablets, associate the app with their Google accounts, and enter a code obtained from WiFi Passport vouchers sold by Indomog. Although Indomog sells its vouchers both online and physically at hundreds of locations in Jakarta, WiFi passport vouchers may not yet be available at all outlets and it’s not yet available from the online store.
The WiFi Passport app had been made available since 16 October and had been noticed on this arstechnica forum post on the 21st but given the status as a trial roll out, the company has said little about the program. Those interested in giving WiFi Passport a try or wondering how it works, can head on to Google’s WiFi Passport page to find out in more details.
We are looking to confirm whether Google has a license to operate as an internet service provider, and if it does, it’s certainly going to more than ruffle the feathers of the internet industry in Indonesia, but if it acts merely as an aggregator of wireless hotspots, it can easily brand any hotspot from any provider as a “WiFi Passport powered by Google” and will not run afoul of the regulators. All it will be doing is making it easier for consumers to use the existing facilities operated by Internet providers.
Notice that Google is careful in its branding. The company does not say that these are Google hotspots and the hotspot map on the WiFi Passport does clearly state the hotspot provider, so it seems to be designed to open the doors for multiple hotspot providers to join the program.