Mumbai’s public WiFi likely to stay free till August 15

Mumbai city news: Maharashtra government wanted to monetise the service from May 1, but extended the free run to come up with tariff plan

mumbai Updated: Jun 26, 2017 10:57 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,free wifi,Mumbai
The state government rolled out its ambitious free WiFi service project on January 6.(Representational photo )

The public WiFi service, which people access at 585 locations in Mumbai, will remain free till August 15.

Earlier, the Maharashtra government had planned to charge citizens for availing the WiFi service from May 1. However, it decide to extend the free period till Independence Day. This extension is owing to the difficulty faced by the government in fixing charges for using the service.

“It is a one-of-a-kind project in the country and there no model that can be implemented to monetise the service. We also have to consider charges applied by the private internet services providers, which have reduced significantly in the past few months,” said a senior official from state information technology (IT) department.

The state government rolled out its ambitious free WiFi service project by activating 510 hotspots at public places in Mumbai. With this, Mumbai became the first Indian city with public WiFi connectivity. The government later activated 75 hotspots, thus taking the tally to 585.

Sources said the government tariff will be less than what the private service providers charge. According to the state’s initial plan, charges will be applicable for using the WiFi service after a certain limit — crossing 100 MB or 30 minute usage.

The government hired PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as a consultant for the IT department and was asked to study tariff systems implemented by other countries for providing public WiFi service. The firm has submitted its report to the government, sources said.

The government had set a target of completing the second phase of the project by activating 615 WiFi hotspots, taking the tally to 1,200, by May 1. However, the second phase remains incomplete.

“All 1200 hotspots are active and are functioning on trial-basis. We are awaiting government nod to roll out the service officially,” said a senior IT official.

First Published: Jun 26, 2017 10:57 IST