People in Bengaluru may soon get access to Wi-fi at several public places in the next three months. The city authorities have decided to open 2,000 Wi-fi hotspots at various locations in the state capital.
These public Wi-fi hotspots will be set up in various malls, metro stations and bus stations in the city, Gaurav Gupta, Principal Secretary, Industries, IT, Biotechnology, and Science and Technology told the Hindu. The 2,000 Wi-fi hotspots will be set up provided there are no hold-ups in regulatory clearances, Gupta added.
The new service would prove especially helpful for people who have no data pack on their mobile phones or are facing low speed problem.
The specific locations for these Wi-fi hotspots have already been marked. “We have identified 2,000 such spots and concluded the tender for vendors,” Gupta was quoted as saying in the report.
Other than using the existing infrastructure, the plan may require further investment from vendors.
“The Wi-fi devices can be installed on existing infrastructure and where infrastructure does not exist, vendors need to invest in them and pay the BBMP ground rent,” Gupta told the publication.
This project was stuck at the city’s civic authority, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagra Palike (BBMP), because there was no clarity regarding the rentals of different types of telecom infrastructures. Installation of Wifi hotspots requires small poles while telecom towers are needed for providing internet service to a large area.
The policy related to the rentals of telecommunication tower was approved by the BBMP council in July this year, and an annual charge of Rs 50,000 for each tower was formalized. The policy is pending approval with the state government, according to the report. However, BMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said that all the issues are sorted out. “Pending approval of the telecom towers policy, we have decided to go ahead with the project,” he said.
Bengaluru emerged as one of the top 25 high-tech cities in the world, according to a ranking released last year by research firm 2thinknow, that specializes in analyzing innovative cities. Bengaluru took the 19th spot, up from the 49th place it occupied last year. The city has a large population that relies on the internet for daily needs like hiring taxis, ordering food, and booking online tickets.
Public Wi-fi in India can reach 40 million new users in India by 2019, adding $20 billion to the country’s GDP, according to recent report. Around 100 million people would spend an additional $2-3 billion per year on handsets and a similar amount on cellular mobile broadband services, the report by Analysys Mason, commissioned by Google, said last month.
Google, which had earlier launched a partnership with RailTel and Indian Railways, is now planning to expand its public Wi-fi service to areas beyond railway stations in India, such as malls, cafes and universities, the Economic Times had earlier reported.
Google currently offers public Wi-fi at 400 railway stations in the country, reaching about 7.6 million monthly active users.