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Mumbai beats Delhi: CM Fadnavis launches phase 1 of free WiFi facility

Ahead of the crucial Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections the Maharashtra government today launched ‘MumbaiWifi’ facility with aim to empower people digitally. “Happy to dedicate Phase 1 of MumbaiWifi. From this instance, 500 Wifi hotspots go live across various locations in Mumbai,” Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted.

“MumbaiWifi is India’s largest public Wifi service and one of the largest globally too,” he said. Prominent places where the facility is now available include the office of the Commissioner of Police, Vidhan Bhawan, Kalanagar in Bandra, Bombay High Court and many places in the eastern and western suburbs.

Fadnavis has been emphasising on digitisation since he become the Chief Minister in 2014 and is also planning to digitally connect all gram panchayats in the state, as well.

He said 1,200 Wifi hotspots will be active from May 1.

“Meanwhile, we will monitor the progress on connectivity and speed. We are committed to give good experience to Mumbaikars and resolve issues on priority,” Fadnavis said. He said during trial period from January 2 to 8, about 23,000 users across the city signed up and downloaded more than 2 Terabyte (TB) data. Fadnavis described the decision as an important step by his government in the continued commitment of “Aaple Sarkar” (our government) for digital empowerment of Maharashtra.

Providing free Wi-FI was one of Arvind Kejriwal and AAP’s poll promises before the 2015 Assembly Elections in Delhi. On June 24, a PTI report had claimed that over 500 locations across East Delhi will be made high-speed wi-fi zones by the end of 2016, allowing access to free internet till a pre-determined limit daily. Ashish Khetan, vice-chairman of Dialogue and Development Commission (DDC) of Delhi, which is an advisory body to the government, did not spell out the limit but said that it would be consistent with the average daily usage of an individual as defined by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

The government has also decided to lay down a common fibre-optic network across the city to make it possible for Delhiites to access the web in “gigabit speed”, Ashish Khetan had said. He suggested that 1,000 hotspot zones (wi-fi-enabled) in around 521 pre-identified locations in the trans-Yamuna region will cater to around 1,20,000 people at any given moment.

“The Delhi government has prepared the wi-fi project, which is set to be the largest such project in the world. These 571 pre-identified locations will have 1,000 hotspot zones. Each hotspot zone will have three access points and will cater to around 120 people at a time,” Ashish Khetan had said. The people of Delhi, however, are still waiting for their ‘free WiFi’.