Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is set to introduce Wi-fi in 18 commercial and public zones in three cities in Jharkhand — Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad.
The telecommunications company’s proposal to extend the facility has already been approved, with BSNL officials stating that the three cities could be Wi-fi enabled within six months.
“We got the approval for the project and the tendering process for equipment has begun,” said AN Dhanorkar, BSNL general manager (consumer fixed asset), Jharkhand circle. He said that the company had earlier planned to introduce the facility by end of this fiscal but it could be delayed by a few more months.
The service will be available at minimal charge for all smartphone users, including those operating on other networks.
“The charges have not been fixed yet but it will be cheaper than the 3G rates of different mobile network companies,” said Sujit Kumar, BSNL general manager (consumer mobility) of Jharkhand circle. He said that the Wi-fi speed would be 54 mbps, which could be increased as per the demand.
The department of information technology (IT) is also drafting a proposal for extending Wi-fi to the entire city of Ranchi.
“We are working on a proposal to provide the Wi-fi facility to the entire city. Internet would be provided free for a certain duration, which is yet to be decided. It could be 15 or 30 minutes a day,” IT special secretary Sarvesh Singhal said.
If BSNL is able to provide the facility at the earliest, the Jharkhand government may think of extending financial support to the company for providing free Wi-fi to residents of Ranchi, a source in the CM secretariat said.
Under the Digital India mission, the Raghubar Das government has already announced Wi-fi for more than 4,500 panchayat buildings in the state. The move will help the government monitor the working of panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) via video conferencing and online data updates, an official said.
“The facility could also be extended to primary health centres and post offices in the panchayat,” Singhal said.
The state has given the Jharkhand Agency for Promotion of Information Technology (JAP-IT) the responsibility for implementing the project.