By Stellamaris Ashinze
Lagos, – Some traders at the Computer Village in Ikeja, Lagos, have expressed divergent views about the effectiveness of the Google Free Wifi service installed in the market.
The traders in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos expressed gratitude for the gesture by Google, and some said that the service was not yet as effective as it should be.
Tech Giant had launched its free WiFi service called the Google Station for Nigerians in Ikeja, Lekki and other parts of Lagos.
NAN reports that Google had on Sept. 20 installed six work stations in Computer Village in order to provide free Internet service in the environ.
Mr Adeniyi Ojikutu, the President, Computer and Applied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN), told NAN that the Google free WiFi was very effective.
“This service is very effective, and I have been using it in my office since its installation.
“There is cause for Google to be commended. The service is so efficient that even when the network trips off, it reconnects immediately in spite of the volume of users,’’ Ojikutu said.
The CAPDAN president said that the service had saved him money which he would have spent to buy data to power his internet.
Mr Chinedu Osuala, a dealer in information technology equipment, however, said that the WiFi was not serving its purpose.
According to him, the network is so weak that heavy task cannot be performed on it.
“Even to send a Whatsapp message is very difficult due to the weak network,’’ Osuala said.
He said that since the installation of the free WiFi service on Sept. 20, he had not been able to carry out any meaningful Internet transaction successfully with it.
Mr Joseph Etim, a manager with the Computer Village Hub (Cvhub) said that the free WiFi service was commendable and was a plus for the computer village, a known hub for IT equipment and services.
Etim, however, said that use of public Internet was not very safe as it could make one’s personal details available to be captured for marketing purposes.
“There is nothing free about this service because when accessing public Internet, it means that one will disclose his or her personal details.
“This personal details can be used for anything,’’ Etim said, adding that personal details of individuals when collated could cost money.
However, Google Country Director in Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, said: “It is live in some locations already like the MMA 2, Ikeja City Mall, the Palms, Lekki, Computer Village and the University of Lagos (UNILAG).”
She said that Google collaborated with a fibre network provider, 21st Century to launch the Google Station.
According to her, the free Wi-Fi service will be launched in 200 locations in five cities across Nigeria by the end of 2019.
Also, a Google Brand Ambassador, who preferred to be called Greg, said that all the fears about the service were unfounded as the WiFi was effective.
Greg said that users expected that the network should be accessible even inside their shops, adding that this was not so as the effectiveness of the service depended on the distance between the router and the user.
He said that the user should not be more than 50 km from the router if he or she wanted excellent service.
“Basically, the purpose of the free WiFi is to get more people connected and allow Nigerians to access the internet at a lower data rate.
“It allows you to watch, read or download information, movies, video among others, and to share information with someone that has the app.
“It does not buffer or stream or advert before you download.
“The free WiFi is effective because at some certain kilometres from the router the signal strength tends to be low this is why it may seem not to be so effective to some people.
“People expect and have said that the service should be at their own comfort, but this is not possible due to the volume of users,’’ Greg said.
NAN reports that there are six WiFi work station locations in the Computer Village and the environ, namely: Aina Street, Olayemi Street, Otigba Street, Oshitelu Street, Oremeji Street and the CAPDAN office.