Free wireless internet services are expected to commence in the commercial heart of India's technology capital Bangalore, from April 2013.
Free wireless internet services are expected to commence in the commercial heart of India's technology capital starting next month. Mahatma Gandhi Road and Brigade Road, two of the best-known shopping destinations, will have free Wi-Fi access as part of a plan to make Bangalore the first city to have such a service available at public spots.
The idea is the brainchild of a government-appointed panel headed by Mohandas Pai, a former director at Infosys. The pilot service will be available for at least six months, after which the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) panel will evaluate the network and announce possible expansion plans.
"A smartphone revolution is happening in India, but connectivity is still an issue here. We wanted to provide seamless internet access to people," said Pai, who is also the chairman of the Manipal Global Education.
The decision to offer free wireless broadband access was taken last year and the recommendations of the ICT group were sent to Karnataka's chief minister in January. Bangalore-based internet service provider D-VoiS has been assigned to implement the pilot free of charge. "Once the pilot finishes, we will talk to other private ISPs and figure out a revenue-sharing model," Pai said.
Access to broadband internet free of charge at public spots will benefit hundreds of thousands of people who browse the web through mobile phones, laptops and tablets. The Internet and Mobile Association of India expects the country to have about 165 million mobile internet users by 2015.