The AAP government in Delhi is planning to make free WiFi functional in the capital by February next year, while simultaneously trying to integrate various transport, power and health services via the internet to make Delhi a smart city.
The plan to give free WiFi access was among the original poll promises of the AAP but the new plan is that the service will now be given on the basis of limited data usage, and not based on a time limit.
Within the WiFi service, browsing websites, social media, email and WhatsApp will remain free and users will only have to pay for watching videos, video chats and downloading content. Officials said they will look to ensure a minimum internet speed of 512 kbps and the government is considering fixing the data usage to 50 MB per day. But a call is yet to be taken in that regard.
“We will not fix a time but will restrict bandwidth. Internet will be charged on the basis of data usage per day. Once the data limit is exhausted, users can avail the service by paying for extra usage. The system will be reset daily,” parliamentary secretary for this job, Adarsh Shastri, said.
Delhi government officials said the expression of interest for the project will be invited by the end of this month, followed by request for proposal in June. The work is to be awarded by July. Around 150 companies from around the world have expressed interest in the project.
The Information Technology department is in the process of identifying 1,000 places along with the Ground Water Survey and Development Agency for setting up hotspots in the first phase of implementation.
Shastri added that while international projects were state-sponsored, the Delhi government is looking to conceive a dynamic model that will also generate revenue for the government. “This will be a first-of-its-kind project to be tested on such a large scale. In Delhi, there are around two crore wireless devices which can access the internet. If at any point, 25-30 per cent people access internet, it means 50 lakh users. We can also categorise the content being accessed, which has a big scope for targeted advertising.”
The city government is also moving towards providing a paperless citizen service that will enable users to access government documents through the internet. Officials explained that currently there are 219 forms for different services, ranging from birth certificates to death certificates. “People need to take a holiday every time they have to go to a government office to pick up a form. There’s a big chance that the person will end up having to pay a bribe and even then the entire process will take days,” an official said.
Shastri said the government is identifying different services, where with proper authentication and digital signature, people can take printouts of the form while sitting at home or at office. “We will cut more layers of corruption and bring efficiency,” he said.
The government is also moving towards a transportation model, wherein a single card will allow users to access different modes of transport along the lines of cities such as London.
“Delhi has moved to multi-transport system. We have buses, autos, cabs, metro and the process is to integrate it all together and issue a single card which can be used to access all transport modes. Through this card, one can pay in the metro, bus and even pay for parking and toll taxes,” Shastri said.