Eye on polls, Delhi government plans mega free Wi-Fi outreach
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Eye on polls, Delhi government plans mega free Wi-Fi outreach

By Indian Express calender  27-Jul-2019

Eye on polls, Delhi government plans mega free Wi-Fi outreach

Keen to curry favour with young voters and the working class, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has taken a major step towards meeting one of its key promises made in the run-up to the 2015 Assembly polls. It has firmed up a plan to install Wi-Fi hotspots at 100 select locations in each Assembly constituency to enable browsing for free.
The non-implementation of this project, till date, has been used by the opposition as a stick to beat the government with. Over the last four-and-a-half years of this government, nothing much has moved on the ground in this regard. As per the contours of the project fleshed out in a new draft, the locations would largely be public places that record heavy footfall on any given day. They will include parks, hospitals, mohalla clinics, Metro stations, and other public places.
In its manifesto for the 2015 polls, in which the party registered a landslide win, AAP promised free internet access to everyone. During the initial years of the current dispensation, an effort was made to get this project off the ground. However, it was stuck in the face of a legal tangle with the office of the Lieutenant Governor. While presenting the budget for fiscal 2019 -20, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the government had set aside R150 crores for the project. The government has planned on developing at least 10,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the city.
To avail internet services for free, a user will be provided with a One Time Password (OTP), which will remain valid for a few days at all the hotspots. In addition to the plan of installing 7,000 hotspots across 70 assembly segments, around 3,000-4,000 hotspots will be developed at bus stops across the national capital. According to sources, major telecom companies have given their estimated charges for the project and the file from the Public Works Department (PWD), which will be the implementing authority, has been sent for further approval by the finance department. The hotspots would have a coverage area of 40-50 meters, depending on the locations. Tech giants have assured the government that the project could be implemented within 15 days of awarding the tender.
  • 100 locations in each assembly constituency of Delhi to be made free Wi-Fi zones
  • Rs 150 cr funds set aside for the project
  • 10,000 Wi-Fi hotspots to be installed across the national capital
  • 7,000 Wi-Fi hotspots to be installed in 70 assembly segments
  • 3,000-4,000 hotspots to be installed at bus stops
  • Rs 100 cr expenses to be incurred every year to keep the project running
  • 40-50 metres – coverage area of the Wi-Fi hotspots

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