State owned telco BSNL has extended its WiFi internet facility across 1,227 location by installing 2,505 Wi-Fi hotspots until March, the Ministry of Communications and IT disclosed in a Rajya Sabha query (doc file).
The Ministry also stated that BSNL is expected to provide these facilities with a minimum speed of 2 Mbps at every access point. BSNL has already installed WiFi hotspots in 16 tourist places and historical monuments; the facility will also be extended to 3 more locations by July 2016.
BSNL has categorized its WiFi project in two sections:
-Type A hotspots across 19 public tourist places and historical sites (listed below). These come under a Rs 2000 Cr modernization drive by BNSL to install WiFi hotspots across important locations like tourist and religious spots.
– Type B WiFi hotspots planned across 40,000 locations across the country that BSNL announced in January to make up for the lack of its own 4G services.
Following is a list of the 19 public locations with WiFi facility:
Last month we reported that BSNL added 50 WiFi hotspot locations in the country across its circles including Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and Madhya Pradesh. This was part of the second plan where it planned to install 40,000 access points across the country.
Subjected to pricing
-BSNL mentions that Type A hotspots are applicable at public locations such as railways stations, universities and campuses, etc., initially for a test period of 90 days from the date of launch. Therefore, it sounds like more of a trial run than a permanent installation. This type of hotspot will cost between Rs 100 to 2500, based on validity, prepaid or postpaid use, billed per minute.
-Type B hotpsots are applicable for personal use in location like hotels, privately owned institutes and colleges, universities, libraries, etc. Owners of these location will have to purchase prepaid coupons in bulk at discounted price and distribute it among customers. Usage is billed under prepaid or postpaid basis, costing anywhere between Rs 30 to Rs 2000.
Additionally, as a trial offer, BSNL provides free usage on each Sunday during first 90 days. Minimum charges per session is Rs. 20 for prepaid and Rs. 10 for postpaid; this is not applicable for the first 90 days.
Facebook ties up with BSNL for WiFi: In November 2015, Facebook and BSNL entered into a partnership to create 100 WiFi hotspots in rural areas in India, for which Facebook would invest Rs 5 crore per year to buy bandwidth from BSNL. This initiative would start off with 100 villages, with Rs 5 lakh spent per year per site for buying bandwidth from BSNL. Note that in June 2015, the telecom operator tied up with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to provide WiFi hotspots for tourists at the Taj Mahal. In February 2015, it launched free WiFi in Varanasi and in April 2015, it launched public WiFi in Hyderabad as well.
Read more on our Public WiFi coverage