Explained: What is Delhi AAP govt’s new free WiFi project?https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-delhi-wifi-project-arvind-kejriwal-5891476/

Explained: What is Delhi AAP govt’s new free WiFi project?

On Thursday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the wifi project, in current form, remains the biggest initiative of its kind not just in India, but anywhere in the world.

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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addresses a press conference in New Delhi, Aug 1, 2019. (PTI Photo: Manvender Vashist)

Around 11,000 spots in the national capital’s public spaces — ranging from bus stops, parks to mohalla clinics — will turn free wireless internet zones under a Delhi government project cleared on Thursday.

Who can users connect to Delhi’s free WiFi?

For people, accessing the free WiFi would be two taps on their smartphones. Upon selecting the network name and entering the mobile number, one will receive an OTP (One Time Password). On successfully entering the OTP, every user will be able to use up to 15 GB of data on a monthly basis.

What are the limits of the service?

At each hotspot zone, up to 200 users will be able to simultaneously access WiFi at a speed of 200 mbps. The hotspots will have a coverage range of 50 metres each.

When is it expected to go live?

However, the project is not likely to take flight before another three months. The AAP government, which is on its last lap before the 2020 Assembly polls, plans to float tenders for the project as soon as possible. The Opposition has already termed the announcement a poll gimmick, citing the long delay since 2015, when the AAP had taken office promising to make Delhi a WiFi city.

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How much will the government have to spend for free WiFi?

The government will spend Rs 100 crore per annum for the project, which will be executed and run by the company that bags the tender. The government had initially planned to cover at least 20 lakh households under the scheme. But the reduction in data rates of telecom companies forced a rethink and the project was scaled down to suit the current demand.

At one point, the executing agency PWD had suggested that the hotspot model be shelved, and people be given free internet vouchers instead. But the idea was rejected by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. On Thursday, Kejriwal said the project, in current form, remains the biggest initiative of its kind not just in India, but anywhere in the world.

Another interesting aspect of the initiative is the proposed integration of the WiFi and the ongoing CCTV projects. At least 35,000 out of the 1.4 lakh CCTVs being installed will double up as WiFi routers, the government has announced.