Government plans to make free Wi-Fi functional by February of next year. Free Wi-Fi in Delhi was among the prominent pre- poll promises made by AAP.
According to a senior official, government will release Expression of Interest (EOI) for the project by the end of this month followed by Request for Proposal (RfP) in June with the work to be awarded by July.
Around 150 companies from around the world have expressed interest in the project, the official said.
Senior officials said that website browsing, social media websites (Facebook/Twitter), email and WhatsApp and other basic services will remain free while a user will have to pay for watching videos, video chat and downloading content.
“We will work on ensuring a minimum speed of 512Kbps to each user to make it a better experience. We will be very strict on user experience and uninterrupted service,” said the Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of IT, Adarsh Shastri.
The government is considering fixing the data usage to 50MB per day but a call is yet to be taken in that regard.
“We will not fix a time but will restrict bandwidth. Internet will be charged on the basis of data usage per day. Once the data limit is exhausted, users can avail the service by paying for extra usage. Every day the system will be reset,” Shastri said.
The Information Technology department is in the process of identifying 1,000 places along with the Ground Water Survey and Development Agency (GSDA) for setting up hotspots in the first phase of implementation.
Officials said they have also studied the existing system in place in cities like Stockholm, Barcelona, Shanghai and Singapore.
“International projects were state-sponsored models but ours is dynamic so the government can get revenue from the services,” Shastri said.
Talking about the revenue model, Shastri said, “This will be a first-of-its-kind project to be tested on such a large scale. In Delhi, there are around 2 crore wireless devices which can access Internet. If at any point, 25-30 percent people access Internet, it means approximately 50 lakh users.
“At present, Shanghai has the largest model which caters to 4.5 lakh people. But with 50 lakh users, we have large avenues for monetisation. We can also categorise the content being accessed, etc., which provides a big scope for targeted advertising,” said Shastri.
The government plans to set-up 50,000-80,000 hotspots across Delhi as part of the free Wi-Fi endeavour.
“Delhi is spread across an 1,463 sq.km area; we will cover markets, parks, metro stations and high density areas. We will cover 60 per cent of Delhi.
“Residential areas, green belts, farm belts and rural belts will not be covered.
“As it is a public Wi-FI, it will be available only at public places. An access point (AP) covers a 50 sq.m area, so multiple APs will be installed in one area,” added Shastri.