The Karnataka state government will open public WiFi spots in Bangalore on January 26th and will gradually expand the service in 11 municipal corporations across Karnataka over the following two months.
An Economic Times report on Thursday stated that Bengaluru will have about 5,000 public hotspots before the Assembly elections. Information technology minister Priyank Kharge has been pushing for an early rollout of the public internet service and is confident of wide acceptance, the report added.
The expression of interest (EoI) called by the government is said to have received a positive response from private internet service providers (ISPs). The last day to respond to the EoI was Tuesday.
Citizens will be able to use the public WiFi free for the first 30 minutes. Subsequent usage will be charged, priced at commercial rates set by TRAI.
The ET report states, four companies — Indus Towers, Honeycomb, D-VoiS Communications and ACT Fibernet — have expressed interest to provide public wifi hotspots. Indus Towers has offered to set up 173 smart poles in municipal corporations all over Karnataka with 140 of them in Bengaluru.
Honeycomb and D-VoiS have offered to install hotspots at 2,555 locations each in Bengaluru, Mysuru and Kalaburagi. ACT Fibernet has offered to build wifi hotspots at 1,000 spots in Bengaluru and Mysuru.
Public WiFi projects in other states
In August the Kerala government too unveiled a public WiFi project. 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’. The WiFI service will provide free 300MB of usage to every user every day.
In June, the Telangana government made 1,000 WiFi hotspots live across Hyderabad with speeds ranging between 5-10 Mbps: the first 30 minutes of usage are provided for free. The hotspots are deployed under the state government’s “Hyderabad City WiFi” project, which the government says has been in pilot mode since June 2015.