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WiFi on the go: Bengaluru to get seamless connectivity in 3 months


21 Jun 2013
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After a futile attempt, the government has revived its plan to provide seamless WiFi connectivity in Bengaluru within the next three months. All 198 BBMP wards will be covered under the WiFi zone, which will cater to users with a minimum bandwidth of 2mbps.

The government seems to have expedited the process after the Maharashtra government led by Devendra Fadnavis announced free WiFi connectivity for Mumbai residents in 500 locations.

“We certainly don’t want to follow the Maharashtra model, which is restricted to certain pockets of the city. Since Bengaluru is the Silicon Valley of India, we want to provide seamless WiFi connectivity to the public. People can access WiFi while they are on the move — be it in a BMTC bus, Metro or any other vehicle,” said IT minister Priyank Kharge.

He said residents will be able to use the facility for free for the first 30-45 minutes while travelling within the civic limits using their unique user ID and password. They can avail of the supplementary services by paying the charges prescribed by the service provider.

Kharge said the government will invite tenders under the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurements Act in February and tentatively launch the facility by March or April. “We are also looking to promote our MobileOne app and other flagship government schemes through the WiFi facility,” he added.

However, some experts are skeptical about the move. “Unless the government pumps in a lot of money and irons out the technical glitches, it can’t happen,” said a senior executive from Airtel. “In the past two years, the government made an unsuccessful attempt to create WiFi zones at some spots because it was not ready to invest Rs 1,200 crore. How can one expect the government to do so now, when the cost involved is not less than Rs 5,000 crore?” added the executive. Earlier, the government had planned to introduce WiFi hotspots in the
central business district (CBD).

In 2015, former IT secretary Srivatsa Krishna had mooted a plan to provide free WiFi in Bengaluru and prepared a cabinet note when S R Patil was the IT minister. Krishna’s proposal talked about equipping prime locations (with 30,000 access points) with the WiFi facility, which covered almost 40% of Bengaluru. The project was, however, scrapped after Patil and Krishna differed on the choice of the service provider at the behest of an eminent educationist and IT entrepreneur. Official sources in the IT department said while Patil was adamant on one single service provider, Krishna wanted to have multiple providers through bidding to ensure there was no monopoly.

Kharge, however, said they have a prepared a feasible plan taking into account the pros and cons of the previous proposal. They are planning to launch the service only after holding an elaborate discussion with all stakeholders, including BBMP.

wifi on the go: bengaluru to get seamless connectivity in 3 months, Telecom News, ET Telecom
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