Bengaluru will soon get free internet from several Wi-Fi hotspots set up in public areas across the city, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwathnarayan announced.
“High-speed fibrenet internet service will be provided free of cost for an hour per day across Bengaluru in places including public institutions, hospitals, bus stops, places of commercial activity and others locations taking population density into account,” he told Indianexpress.com on the sidelines of the Bengaluru Tech Summit 2019.
He added the project will be implemented within 9 months and work will begin soon after the formal orders are issued. “Providing high-speed internet is a necessity with regard to the growing infrastructure of the city and the internet will be made available at more than 4,000 Wi-Fi hotspot locations across a distance of 800 kilometres as per the current plan,” Ashwathnarayan, who is also the minister for Information Technology, Biotechnology, and Science & Technology, said.
To begin with, the government has approved telecommunications company Atria Convergence Technologies (ACT) to facilitate the project. Confirming the same, ACT Fibernet CEO Bala Malladi said, “Free Wi-Fi of 1 GBps speed will be provided across locations identified in the city. Non-customers of ACT will be asked to log in with a one-time password to use the service while existing ACT customers will get connected to these hotspots automatically.”
At the same time, ACT officials maintained that the project would not require road-cutting for setting up the system. “We will be relying on the optical fibre cables that have been laid already in the city to ensure internet connectivity. Once the orders are approved, we will seek permission for putting up hotspot devices on poles at the locations identified,” officials said.
According to the plan, the Karnataka state government has estimated the cost of the project to be around Rs 100 crore.
At the same time, the deputy CM clarified that the government will not be spending any money on the project. “However, we will charge a nominal amount to give power supply to facilitate the hotspots set up at poles installed by ACT themselves,” he said.
He further added, “Other companies, interested in providing free internet facilities, are also welcome to join hands with the government.”
The Department of Urban Development and local civic body the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will assist the telecommunications company during the developing phase, officials added.