Karnataka Government again announces Wifi for users in Bengaluru, will it work this time?

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  • Since 2014, successive state governments have announced the project of providing free Wifi but have not been able to deliver.
  • The entire area of Bengaluru that stretches unto 800km will soon be connected through the internet.
  • The people of Bengaluru will be able to access Wifi for free for one hour and then will have to pay Rs50 per hour.

The Karnataka Government has once again announced that Bengaluru city would get free Wifi hotspots. Since 2014, successive governments have announced the project but have not been able to deliver.

Speaking to the media at the Bengaluru Tech Summit, Deputy Chief Minister, Minister of IT and BT, Dr. CN Ashwath Narayan said that the city would get 4,000 Wifi hotspots across the city.

“All 800 sq km of Bengaluru will soon be connected with the internet,” Ashwath Narayan said.

The Karnataka governments have collaborated with ACT Fibernet to provide free Wifi connectivity.

“We expect this to boost tourism,” he added. The entire project is expected to take nine months or a year to be completed before its availed to the public.

However, it may be noted that the project is still at the proposal stage and ACT Fibernet has yet not signed any agreement with the state government.

As per the proposal, the people of the city will get free Wifi for an hour, after which people can pay to use Wifi at the rate of Rs 50 per hour.

As part of the proposal, people who to choose to continue the usage of Wifi will enjoy the uninterrupted speed of 15 Mbps.

The project is estimated to cost ACT Fibernet Rs 100 crore without involving any investment from the state government.

Responding to question, from TNM, Bala Malladi CEO of ACT, said that the money for this extremely expensive project would come out of CSR Funding.

“Our intention is to offer seamless connectivity to all citizens,” he said. The Wifi Hotspots are also proposed to have CCTV cameras are also installed along with them.”

In January 2018, former Deputy Chief Minister Dr G Parameshwara had made an announcement that 5,938 free Wifi hotspots would come up across the city. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) had also an announcement that ACT fibernet would provide hotspots would come across the city.

The BBMP had also announced that ACT Fibernet would provide hotspots at 766 locations, while Honeycomb and DVOIS were to provide 2,516 towers each, and Indus Tower would provide the remaining 140 towers.

Indus Towers had also begun establishing set up of these towers in few areas of the city in October last year. However, the project was stopped owing to high operational costs. According to BBMP Commissioner Anil Kumar, the other partners dropped out of the project as they were unsure about the profits incurred by installing hotspots.

“They were not sure that people would switch from using 4G to paying for free hotspot for an hour. But installing the tower will have high operational costs.

Since 2012, several governments have announced free Wifi schemes. The first scheme was to introduced in 2014, and the project was piloted in Mahatma Gandhi road.

When public Wifi was made available to the public of MG road of 2G speed. This project was sidelined. Thereafter, in 2016, 2017 and 2018, the government made announcements for Wifi in the city. These projects did not come to city.

In a similar exercise, Kerela had made an announcement in July that 1,887 free Wifi towers will set up in selected areas across all districts of the state under K-fi project of the state government and that more were being set up to meet the targeted figure of 2000 free Wifi centers.

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