It is nothing short of good news for all students in colleges and universities from the government. The Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has asked nearly 900 universities and 40,000 affiliated colleges to coordinate with approved telecom service providers (TSPs) to have WiFi facilities on campuses by Independence Day, 2018. The HRD Ministry has written to vice-chancellors and heads of all higher educational institutions in this regard. “The creation of digital campus would require a large national effort involving both private and public players. Some telecom service providers have already evinced interest in participating in this effort.” reads the letter sent on January 15. Each user will reportedly have a quota of data they can use for free after which they will have to pay the telecom service provider. “It is expected that the facility is to be provided by telecom service and internet service providers at their own cost. There shall be no financial implications to the institution …” the letter further said.
Diving into the details of the proposed plan, the institution would have to provide space for laying fibre, installing switches and UPS. The TSP, which would set up network equipment consisting of optical fibre, access switches, wireless access points and security equipment, should offer free data not be less than 1 GB for a month per student and faculty. The data speed should not be less than 4 Mbps and WiFi services should be available at the hotspots selected by the institution. Each user should be allowed connections to a minimum of two devices like a laptop or smartphone concurrently. The broadband network of the TSP should be interconnected to the National Knowledge Network (NKN) to access other e-learning resources.
Back in 2017, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio had made a presentation before the ministry regarding its plans to deploy free Wi-Fi connectivity in close to 38,000 colleges (technical and non-technical). As per media reports, the proposal is being examined by the ministry and a final decision is yet to be taken.