Free Wi-Fi hotspots in Pune: Some are happy, many are unaware about the service
HT got around the city to check speed, connectivity and usability of free Internet services provided by the PMC.Updated: Feb 05, 2018 15:42 IST
As a part of the Smart City initiative as many as 150 areas were declared Wi-Fi hotspots on January 26. Team Hindustan Times went to get the ground pulse of eight such locations across the city. Some users of this free Wi-Fi service express partial satisfaction with complaints about network issues while many said that they did not even know about it. The Pune Municipal Corporation’s Pune Smart City Development Corporation (PSCDCL) had launched 150 Wi-Fi hotspots in association with Google.
The eight places that were visited by the correspondent to check the internet service included, Chhatrapati Sambhaji Garden, Swargate police station, Swargate bus depot, Model Colony Lake, Pashan Lake entrance, PMC, Pune railway station depot and Lt Savitribai Phule Garden, Pimpri-Chinchwad. While Chhatrapati Sambhaji Garden, Swargate police station, Swargate bus depot, Model Colony Lake, Pashan Lake entrance and PMC had stable connectivity and good speed, the lack of awareness among the public was one of the major flaws. Further, despite the list released by the civic body mentioning Lt Savitribai Phule Garden as one of the Wi-Fi enabled spots, no connection could be spotted there.
Sadhna Tompe, a 22-year old engineering graduate from Nanded has recently moved to the city in search of a job. Having heard of the initiative, she said,“It is indeed an extremely necessary development for the country currently, and its great to see Pune taking the lead here. However, while all of it sounds great, it actually needs to work at the end of the day.” And, to check that, she was at the Chhatrapati Sambhaji Garden on JM road. After checking the connectivity, she said, “It is a fast, hassle-free connection, however, the speed is slow and can be only used for social media websites and instant messaging. I tried opening a few websites and got an error message despite trying a couple of times. Honestly, I would prefer to use my own Internet over this.”
However, the issue of browsing speed was negated at the Model Colony Lake area, where the users were pleased with the service. Rajat Sawant, a 19-year-old mechanical engineering student of the Rasiklal M Dhariwal Sinhgad School of Engineering, said, “I got to know about this Wi-Fi hotspot from a friend and I have been to some other locations with the same connection and it is considerably good. But, here as many people do not come to avail the service, and most don’t know, the speed is very good. I did make a few downloads, mostly songs and videos and the speed was around 1mbps.”
Govinda Dayama, 2nd year science student of Garware College, on the other hand, did not agree with the quality of connectivity at the location. “I have been to a location with this initiative near MIT Kothrud, but compared to this, the service there is much better. Possibly the coverage range is too short, but you tend to loose connection at certain locations near the lake.” Sawant agreed to this, and said, “The issue with this network is that it keeps getting disconnected and every time logging in with the phone number and OTP at the same location is unnecessary and time consuming. Also, when in the middle of a download, it often disrupts the entire process and then it begins from the start.”
This project, according to PSCDCL is a pilot project whose success will decide if a total of 199 Wi-Fi hotspots can come up in the city. All these locations cover public spaces like gardens, hospitals, bus stops, government offices. Responding to the discrepancies in the system, one of the sources on the request of anonymity, said, “This being a pilot project is undergoing constant improvements and we are trying our best to get more feedback from the people through social media.”
In order to solve the lack of awareness, he added, “We understand that most of the places do not have posters or signboards notifying that the place is Wi-Fi enabled, but work to solve this issue is underway. We have already begun to bring out boards, placards and brochures for the same. Further, we have been constantly posting about the initiative on the PMC, Pune Smart City website and social media to reach out to the maximum number of people. Also, the total list of 150 places has also been uploaded there.”
Despite several attempts, however, Rajendra Jagtap, CEO, PSCDCL was unreachable for a comment.