The ambitious WiFi project of New Delhi Municipal Council launched in Connaught Place and Khan Market seems to have lost its popularity among visitors and traders who claim the service is not functioning seamlessly.
The civic body and the service providers, however, claim that no formal complaints have been received in this regard. "When the service was launched initially it used to work fine though the network connectivity was limited to inner circle but it was seamless. But for past 6-8 months, there is no signal and users have to log in multiple times to get connected if at all it is successful," Atul Bhargav, President of New Delhi Traders Association, said.
NDMC had partnered with Tata Teleservices to provide the service in inner and outer circles of Connaught Place, one of the significant business and leisure centres in the city. The civic body claims that the service which was launched in November last year is the largest in India.
At a time, the service can be availed by 5,000 people with a speed of 512 Kbps. The first 20 minutes (within a 24 hour period) are entirely free after which scratch cards can be purchased in various denominations in the market. The password for the Wi-Fi will be sent to users via SMS once they login to the hotspot from the WiFi settings. But the people seem to be disappointed with the service.
"There are no fixed hotspots where network is better or low. To log in once you have to keep on trying for twenty minutes and by that time you have moved to another location. I frustratingly switch to my cellular data usage only," said a visitor, Rishika. Similar complaints were raised by those operating from and frequenting Khan Market. The Wi-Fi service in Khan Market was launched in August last year in association with Firefly networks.
"Almost all the shops here have their own Wi-Fi inside but the moment you step out from one restaurant or store, there is no signal. The service has been bad for over eight months now," said Sanjeev Mehra, President of Khan Market Traders Association.
Both NDMC officials and service providers claim that the consumers have not reported any formal complaint to them. "We are proud to be associated with NDMC to provide this service to a large number of users everyday. We have not received any specific complaint from any of our customers so far. Our customer care @ 1800-266-121 can be contacted 24x7 for any assistance the customer may require," a Tata Docomo spokesperson said.
NDMC had in March announced that all the areas under its jurisdiction will soon be a Wi-Fi zone. The civic agency had joined hands with Indus Towers Limited to replace 18,500 street-light poles in its areas with 'NextGen digital poles' which will be fitted with Wi-Fi access points, LED bulbs and CCTV cameras which, it claimed, to be the first-of-its-kind initiative in the world.
However, the project has taken a back seat now with the Delhi High Court directing NDMC to not sign contract for award of tender till it hears a plea filed by Reliance Jio challenging the tender process.