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Delhi may soon get high speed Wi-Fi hotspot zones , as promised by AAP before 2015 assembly polls

In March 2016, the Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi (DDCD) started its first free Wi-Fi facility on a three-month pilot basis at Sant Nagar market in Burari area of north Delhi, where users were told they would be able to download 50 MB data every day free of cost.

delhi Updated: Jul 01, 2018 12:21 IST
Ashish Mishra
Ashish Mishra
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi,Free Wi-Fi,Wi-Fi
Delhi soon to get free high speed Wi-Fi hotspot zones across the city. (Saumya Khandelwal/HT Photo )

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has stepped up efforts to execute its free Wi-Fi plan, which was one of the major poll promises of the party before the 2015 Delhi assembly election.

According to government officials, the Public Works Department (PWD), which is now anchoring the project, is considering three possible models through which it can provide free Wi-Fi facility to Delhi residents.

Officials privy to the development said that apart from creating high speed Wi-Fi hotspot zones across the city, the government was exploring possibilities to provide Wi-Fi through optical fibre cables directly to all households or distributing free Wi-Fi vouchers with limited data use.

A high level meeting to discuss all the three options was held last week.

“At present, we are pondering over three possible models — creation of Wi-Fi hotspot zones; giving free Wi-Fi access to households through cables or free Internet vouchers. We may explore other options too before selecting best model,” a senior official, who is at the helm of the project, said.

He said that a presentation would be made before Delhi PWD minister Satyendar Jain before finalisation of any particular model.

Tenders for the facility are scheduled to be awarded in September this year as the government has set a deadline of March 31, 2019, to complete the project.

On March 22, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia in his budget speech had said the project, which was earlier with the information and technology (IT) department, was being handed over to the Public Works Department to expedite the work. A fund of Rs 100 crore was also set aside for the project.

Initially the PWD had said that it would not be able to execute the project because of “lack of expertise” and “scarcity of staff”. Later, the department agreed to implement the plan.

PWD officials say that financial viability of all the available models was also being considered while discussing the modes to provide the facility.

“These models are under discussion and are the initial options which we are exploring. We are looking for an option which is not only convenient but also financially viable,” a PWD official said.

Earlier this month the Delhi government had formed an 11 member specification committee for the project to ensure proper coordination among all stakeholders.

In March 2016, the Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi (DDCD) started its first free Wi-Fi facility on a three-month pilot basis at Sant Nagar market in Burari area of north Delhi, where users were told they would be able to download 50 MB data every day free of cost. If successful, the DDCD had promised to convert 571 other locations of the city into high-speed Wi-Fi zones. The project, however, received lukewarm response.

The government later handed over the project to IT department and announced it was considering setting up 1,000 Wi-Fi hotspots by March 2018, but this too was not implemented.

First Published: Jul 01, 2018 09:52 IST