New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party government is exploring different models, including laying of optical fibres to homes and providing Internet vouchers, to execute its much-delayed poll promise of offering free Wi-Fi in the national capital, sources said. A final decision on the way to execute the wi-fi project is yet to be taken by the AAP government, they said.
A meeting has been called on Saturday where representatives of around five telecom companies will give presentation before Delhi PWD minister Satyendar Jain and senior officers.
“We have suggested around three models to the government, which include laying of fibre to home, Internet voucher and creating hotspots at public places, to implement free wi-fi project. However, no decision has been taken yet,” an official said.
Free wi-fi at public places across the city was one of the AAP’s key poll promises before forming the government in Delhi in 2015.
During his budget speech in the Delhi Assembly in March, Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had said that the wi-fi project, which was earlier with the information and technology (IT) department, was given to the PWD to expedite the work.
In its 2018-19 budget, the Delhi government has allocated Rs 100 crore to provide wi-fi facility, even though the government did not mention a timeline for the completion of the project.
In August this year, the AAP government had asked for creation of free wi-fi “hotspots” in the city, rather offering free data vouchers to people.
It is believed that the city government is now putting all its projects on fast track in the wake of the Lok Sabha elections due next year.
Some AAP functionaries believe that implementing the wi-fi project is very important as it will help the ruling party gather support, in particular from the youth.
Officials are of the view that establishing hotspot zones across the city would cost much cheaper than the other models. In 2016, the government’s advisory body had announced that the first 1,000 wi-fi hotspots would come up in east Delhi. But it never happened.
There are several reasons that can be blamed for the delay. Initially, it was with the IT department. Then the government transferred it to PWD. The action faced resistance as PWD cited lack of expertise in this field.