The Karnataka government will be installing WiFi in 200 BMTC buses within two weeks’ time in select routes, reports TOI. Speaking to MediaNama, BMTC’s Chief Systems Manager Nagendra said that WiFi usage will be provided for free for a limited time duration, after which users will be charged for data. Depending on the response received from the first phase, BMTC plans to add WiFi in more buses on the future, Nagendra added.

According to the report, the project is being implemented on a tender basis, and will initially focus on buses heading to Whitefield, Electronics City, and KempeGowda International Airport. WiFi in buses will have a minimum speed of at least 7.2 Mbps. For the second phase, BMTC is targeting at least 150 BMTC buses and aims to expand to 650 buses in the future. The department has already issued tenders on Monday, added the report. BMTC official Nagendra did not reveal the name of the companies that bagged the contract for the first phase when MediaNama inquired.

Note that the Karnataka state government also has two different WiFi project in the works. Last month, the state announced that it will install WiFi across 2,500 gram panchayats, with an investment of Rs 50 crore. The state has also tied up with BSNL for a different project, wherein WiFi and Internet bandwidth would be provided at subsidized costs to small entrepreneurs, NGOs, and educational institutions.

WiFi is picking up pace in India

In India, WiFi is being looked upon as a cheaper and alternative way for providing affordable Internet access. India’s telecom regulator TRAI had earlier proposed a model wherein small shop/cafe owners could resell bandwidth bought from ISPs at cheaper rates. One startup from Bangalore has executed this model by setting up WiFi hotspots at bakeries/small eateries and providing data as low as Rs 20 for 1 GB. Private companies like AirtelFacebook, and Google also have their WiFi projects running live in India.

Apart from this, several state-sponsored public WiFi initiatives were announced in the past couple of months including Maharashtra government’s plan to install 1200 WiFi hotspots across Mumbai city by May. Tamil Nadu government also has a plan for free WiFi facilities in public spaces and Internet in schools, while Delhi Government plans to install 1000 hotspots in 571 locations. BSNL also has plans to install 10,000 hotspots at government-owned schools in Kerala.