On a busy Monday morning on April 1, S Thangavelu, a youth in his 20s, tried to download a movie at Katpadi railway station in Tamil Nadu. Waiting for his next train to Bengaluru, Thangavelu connected to the ‘free’ Wi-Fi network and tried downloading the movie on his 4G (fourth-generation)-enabled smartphone. In the first half hour, he couldn’t even download half the movie (about 250 megabyte).
The station is covered under Google’s initiative to provide free Wi-Fi to 400 Indian railway stations. Katpadi railway station attracts a passenger flow of about 18,000 a day and one could assume the download speed slowed down for Thangavelu as many other were connected to the Wi-Fi network at the same time.
According to the Speed-test Global Index, India ranks 109th in mobile Internet speeds and 67th in broadband speed, globally.
Before the advent of “free” 4G, many people consumed 1GB data a month. But today, an average cell phone user exhausts 1GB data a day. With data coming cheap, video consumption too has increased in recent months. The use of high-speed Internet has changed the user behaviour and spiked his/her expectation.
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