The Delhi government's free Wi-Fi scheme will cost around Rs 100 crore and will be launched on December 16 with the inauguration of 100 hotspots.
Delhi gets free Wi-Fi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday announced that residents of Delhi will get free 15 GB data per month through a hotspot network across the city. To establish the network, the Delhi government has started the work on installing 11,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the national capital of which 4,000 will be set at bus stops and another 7,000 in market areas and RWAs.
The Delhi government’s free Wi-Fi scheme will cost around Rs 100 crore and will be launched on December 16 with the inauguration of 100 hotspots. Subsequently, every week 500 Wi-Fi hotspots will be installed with a target of setting up all 11,000 hotspots within six months.
Providing free data through Wi-Fi hotspots was one of the key poll promises of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the 2015 Delhi Assembly polls. However, the party was unable to begin its flagship project in the first four years of its tenure. The citywide free Wi-Fi scheme is expected to provide an impetus to education, entrepreneurship, business, employment, and chip in with women’s safety initiatives, party manifesto had said.
Announcing his government’s free Wi-Fi scheme, Kejriwal said, “11,000 hotspots will be installed to provide free internet in Delhi. The government will install 100 hotspots in every assembly segment. The Delhi government will be paying charges to the companies per hotspot on monthly basis.”
According to the official statement, the speed of the internet connection would range between 50 Mbps and 100 Mbps per hotspot and the speed will increase in second phase of the project. Each hotspot would have the capacity to support 150-200 concurrent users.
BJP MP Gautam Gambhir attacked the Kejriwal government’s move to provide free Wi-Fi. “Delhi CM has again lied to public. He is a big liar. He said the same 4.5 years ago and saying it again just 2 months before elections. He is doing vote-bank politics because elections are approaching,” he alleged.
Public Wi-Fi is being increasingly offered in several closed places such as airports and malls, the governments want to extend the facility to local markets, bus stops for wider penetration through hotspots.
Notably, Indian Railways offers free public Wi-Fi service at more than 700 stations across the country, covering around 8 million people every month. Telecom operators such Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea have installed hotspots at several places to offer free Wi-Fi service to its users. The Centre has also said that it would provide public Wi-Fi in cities with population of over 1 million and tourist centres to promote the concept of digital cities.