Mumbai, January 6
The first phase of the state government’s plan to make Mumbai India’s first Wi-Fi city is ready for take-off and will be launched some time before the BMC elections.
The project envisages providing wireless internet access across the city through a network of 6,000 MTNL hotspots at 1,200 locations across the city. It will offer speeds of up to 20Mbps (megabits per second), equivalent to 2.5MB/s (megabytes per second).
In the first phase, 1,200 hotspots will be set up at 500 locations. Key areas are tourist spots such as Gateway of India and Girgaum Chowpatty. Other locations include large slums pockets, where mobile network coverage is patchy.
Under the scheme, the first 1GB of data or the first 30 minutes of use – whichever comes first – will be free. After that, you will be charged at competitive rates.
A senior state government official, who did not wish to be named, said, “We are ready to launch the first phase of the project at 500 locations. The test run has been completed. The only issue is the date, which is yet to be finalised. Earlier, we had planned to start the service on January 9 but the day is to be celebrated as Pravasi Bhartiya Divas. The formal launch will happen soon.”
He added, “Wi-Fi will be free for users for up to 30 minutes or 1GB. After this, people will have to pay. The rates will be comparative and at par with those of other service providers. We could even charge less than others.”
Each access point is expected to cost the state about Rs 2.5lakh, which puts the total cost of the project at around Rs 125 crore.
A source told HT, “In the next phase, 6000 more Wi-Fi hotspots will be activated at 700 locations by May. We will incorporate the feedback we get from the first phase.”
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced in August 2016 that Mumbai would be made a Wi-Fi city. The first phase of the project was expected to start in November but was delayed by more than a month because of problems in procuring the required hardware.
The project is being undertaken by Larsen & Toubro, which had earlier implemented the CCTV surveillance project in Mumbai.