As part of Government of India’s Digital India initiative, the Department of Telecom (DoT) is beginning a project that will apparently provide public Wi-Fi services in cities with a population of more than 1 million, reports The Hindu Business Line. DoT has reportedly been asked to work out the modalities of the project, including creating a separate licensing framework for private telecom operators interested in offering public Wi-Fi service. It's worth noting that several telecom operators including Vodafone and MTNL have been piloting WiFi hotspots in a bid to offload users to WiFi networks, thereby reducing the network congestion and address the growing data consumption on its network. In March this year, Tata Teleservices had also stated plans to set up 4,000 WiFi hotspots in nine cities across India over the next two years while Reliance Jio had also launched free Wi-Fi hotspots in eight locations at Ahmedabad and nine locations at Baroda and Surat, as part of Gujarat government's ‘e-Nagar’ project. This was expected to be rolled out to 53 towns in Gujarat in the long run. Paid Wi-Fi service However, DoT notes that this service will likely not be free, which could possibly be a major roadblock. Note that Aircel CMO Anupam Vasudev had earlier said in a panel discussion that people are typically unwilling to pay for a public WiFi service since they want the service to be free, due to which public WiFi services don’t typically work out. That being said, India doesn’t have a great track record with public WiFi yet. Several announcements have been made, but there is little in terms of delivery. This…
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