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Delhi govt likely to give a new push to free Wi-Fi project

Finance dept has approved proposed cost estimate and other logistics for project

NEW DELHI: Delhi government is planning to give a new push to the Free WiFi project in Delhi. In this new push, the sources said that the finance department has approved the proposed cost estimate and other logistics for the project. "The government wants to finish a major part of this project by this year and that's why a proposal by the Public Work Department (PWD) on the action plan has been discussed and got the necessary approval from the authority concerned," said a senior official of the Delhi government on the request of anonymity.

The sources said that the work would be done Vidhasabha wise and in every constituency, nearly 100 hotspots for free wi-fi would be installed. The government would also develop free wifi system at the bus stops and major bus terminuses of Delhi in the first phase of work. For providing free internet to the city by installing 10,000 WiFi hotspots across the national capital, the government has set September 2020 deadline, as per the Outcome Budget. The government has kept the deadline for awarding the tender for the WiFi project as of December 31 this year. The expected date for commissioning of WiFi hotspots at the pilot stage is also kept for March next year –after the tenure of the government will be over.

As per the Outcome Budget, the data limit per house will be 45 GB at a speed of 4 Mbps. Sources said that the primary plan and financial estimates prepared by the PWD department got approval from the authorities. This approval will help the government to initiate the project likely from this month. However, what is the exact deadline of this project as presented by the PWD department has not been disclosed by the authorities.

The AAP, which was also in power for 49 days in 2013-14, said in the 2015 manifesto that internet and telecom companies have been approached and a high-level feasibility study has been conducted in consultation with them.

The AAP came back to power with a landslide victory in February 2015. While presenting the Budget for 2015-16, Delhi Finance Minister Manish Sisodia had termed WiFi as a major initiative in making Delhi a technologically advanced city.

In the current Budget for 2019-20, Finance Minister Manish Sisodia said after studying various models, "We are prepared to start this service for the residents of Delhi next year" and kept

Rs 150 crore for the project.

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