The Uttar Pradesh state government today launched WiFi hotspots at 74 bus stations that are spread across 66 district headquarters, reports IANS. Each user will get unlimited free usage and will need to login via TG Connect app, according to the report. There were no details on the speeds being delivered or the operators involved in providing bandwidth to the UP government. The UP govt website and the IT Policy portal of UP did not provide any details.
Note that the TG Connect app that the IANS report mentions, was launched by Travelguru.com back in 2013 as an API for hotel partners and channel managers for exchanging hotel rates and inventory details. The company which owns the app later expanded to various categories like utility bill payments, distributing online games, or simply aggregating information of nearby restaurants, clubs, banks, ATMs, etc.
TG Connect seems to be the launch partner of UP government for its WiFi project. The app serves as an authentication agent for registering a user on to the Wi-Fi network and for notifying users of an upcoming Bus in particular bus stop/station, as seen in this demo video. Note that TG Connect also provides audio-based advertising facilities on Mumbai Local trains and the same is being provided in an online format via the app.
Rise of state-sponsored WiFi projects
Apart from UP, several state-sponsored public WiFi initiatives were announced in the past couple of months. We have tracked down a total of 8 including UP government’s current announcement:
- Kerala: The state plans to set up Wi-Fi hotspots in 2,000 public places like government offices, bus stops, parks, tourist destinations, courts and public ‘seva kendras’ in the next 7 months. First 300 MB of usage for the day will be provided for free to the user.
- Telangana: Hyderabad government’s 1,000 WiFi hotspots went live in June this year across the state. It is offering speeds ranging between 5-10 Mbps and the first 30 minutes of usage is being provided for free.
- Karnataka: The state government has installed WiFi hotspots in BMTC buses. The Karnataka state government also has two different WiFi project in the works.
- Maharashtra: It had installed 1200 WiFi hotspots across Mumbai city in May. WiFi usage was provided for free for all users until the end of January when it was u unveiled. Users are now charged anywhere around Rs 28 to Rs 30 per 100 MB with speed up to 20 Mbps.
- Tamil Nadu: The TN government also has a plan for free WiFi facilities in public spaces and Internet in schools. The state set aside Rs 10 crore for the WiFi project and another Rs 7.3 crore for opening 45 new Amma WiFi Zones in Chennai.
- Delhi: The Delhi Government also plans to install 1000 hotspots in 571 locations.
- BSNL’s project in Kerala: it also has plans to install 10,000 hotspots at government-owned schools in Kerala in partnership with the state government of Kerala.