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Delhi Government to hold consultation meet to discuss free Wifi implementation

aam-aadmi-party-delhi

The Delhi Government intends to provide (pdf) Wifi services across the capital for internet access. The government will hold a stakeholder consultation meet on the 24th, 25th and 26th March to discuss the same.

The objective of the project is to provide Wifi internet services across the city, preferably free of charge for a short duration. The meeting this month will discuss best practices, identify challenges, exchange information and discuss and finalize the implementation.

The targeted participants in this meeting includes industry associations, internet service providers, telecom service providers, VAS providers, telecommunication consultants, telecommunication infrastructure companies, OEMs for Wifi equipment, AAA system providers, system integrators and government bodies.

Presentation and Information points: The government outlined that stakeholders will need to provide details on concept, business model, implementation plan, key risk, proposed zones and prioritisation, proposed technology, key players involved and quality of service.

Stakeholders will also need to provide details on free Wifi model adopted, including the content type, data down limit, time duration etc. Issues pertaining to security, interference from other Wifi channels, sustainability of project in terms of cost, revenue and maintenance, lawful interception among others will also be discussed. All participating organizations have to confirm their participation by mailing at delhiwidewifi@gmail.com on or before the 20th of this month.

Promise of free Wifi: The promise of free WiFi was an intriguing part of the Aam Aadmi Party manifesto, however it remains to be seen how it will be implemented. We had mentioned before that this was a great opportunity to make Delhi into a vibrant tech and free speech hub. We had outlined our thoughts on the implementation of this idea in great detail here. This included a neutral Wifi infrastructure service provider, net neutral approach, addressing security issues by linking mobile numbers to Wifi and making telecom operators compete for business.

Government Wifi initiatives:

– The Gujarat Government had launched an e-nagar project to set up Wifi hotspots in Ahmedabad in February last year. It was clear with whom the government has tied-up for this project or by when it will be implemented, although the government mentioned 53 town in Gujarat would be covered in the long run.

– Similarly, Bihar had launched a 20 km free Wi-Fi zone between National Institute of Technology (NIT) Patna (located at Ashok Rajpath) and Danapur town present in western Patna. The state also plans to set up free WiFi in all tourist spots.

– Bangalore became the first city to have free WiFi hotspots called Namma WiFi, on M G Road, Brigade Road and four other locations including Traffic and Transmit Management Centres (TTMCs) at Shanthinagar, Yeshwanthpur, Koramangala and CMH Road in Indiranagar.

– Telecom service provider Vodafone had introduced a WiFi zone for its customers at the Belvedere Rapid Metro Station in Gurgaon, while Idea Cellular had soft-launched its WiFi service in 5 select cities – Ahmedabad, Cochin, Pune, Hyderabad, and Vizag. Vodafone had also piloted Wifi hotspots in several metros including Mumbai for its subscribers.

– There were also reports of Jio looking to launch large scale WiFi networks in Mumbai and Delhi and tying up with Ericsson to set up around 30,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across commercial buildings, offices and malls in these regions. Earlier this year, the company mentioned it would introduce 4G-enabled free Wi-Fi service across Kolkata within the next two months.

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