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Thursday, March 04, 2021

In the pipeline: 5,000 WiFi hotspots at 272 MCD wards

According to the proposal passed in a recent South MCD meeting, it will help children from lower-income families continue their education online and will also create digital channels to communicate government schemes to citizens.

Written by Abhinav Rajput | New Delhi |
Updated: February 19, 2021 1:07:08 am
Delhi MCD, PM WANI, Delhi MCD broadband services, PM WANI scheme, indian express newsThe New Delhi Municipal Council had earlier set up free Wifi hotspots in areas such as Connaught Place. (Express Archive)

To boost internet connectivity in the capital, the three MCDs will provide broadband services at 20 places in each ward under the PM WANI (Prime Minister WiFi Access Network Interface) scheme. According to officials, area councillors will start identifying the 20 beneficiaries in each ward, mostly small shops, who will then buy and set up WiFi routers.

Installation of each device will cost the corporation around Rs 4,720, including an incentive of Rs 1,000 for the beneficiary if they promote the scheme. Leader of the house in South MCD Narendra Chawla said the corporation will reimburse the cost of the device, which costs around 3,000. A total of around 5,000 devices will be installed across the 272 wards.

Explained

What is PM WANI scheme?

Cleared by the Union Cabinet in December, the PM WANI scheme aims to bring large-scale deployment of WiFi hotspots throughout the country for better connectivity options and to improve digital access. This is essentially a nationwide network of public WiFi hotspots, termed public data offices (PDOs) after the public call office (PCO) concept rolled out by the Indian government to set up a nationwide network of landline public pay-phones. It will not involve any licence, fee or registration.

According to the proposal passed in a recent South MCD meeting, it will help children from lower-income families continue their education online and will also create digital channels to communicate government schemes to citizens. There will be a total of 2,080 beneficiaries in all 104 wards in South MCD, particularly slums and lower-income group colonies. This will cost it Rs 98 lakh.

According to officials, the beneficiary can select any registered vendor by the Department of Telecom for purchasing the WiFi router. The money shall be credited by SDMC when he/she shows the bill through the online mechanism. In case they fail to provide the service, the device will be seized.

A senior official said shopkeepers can share data with common people at a rate fixed by the government: “It would be cheaper than the market rate.”

North MCD Mayor Jai Prakash said a similar proposal will be brought in their area too, for which a resolution is being prepared. The East MCD would also follow suit.

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