The Department of Telecom has floated tender to install over 5 lakh wi-fi hotspots across gram panchayats with an estimated cost of Rs 4,000 crore.
"This document intends to outline a high level approach for implementation of Wi-Fi hotspots or any other suitable broadband technology at every gram panchayat (GP) covered under the BharatNet program of Bharat Broadband Network Limited," the tender document said.
The telecom commission has earlier approves amount of up to Rs 4,000 crore for installation of 5 lakh wi-fi hotspots in GPs using BharatNet broadband infrastructure.
The project is expected to be rolled out by the end of this year. The Wi-Fi hotspots will be available for public in rural area as well as connect social institutions like police station, primary health centres, schools, post offices etc.
"Once these institutions will be connected digitally, it will empower citizen in rural area with quick and efficient service and keep them up to date with urban India," a DoT official said.
Already there are over 43,000 wi-fi hotspots installed in rural area under Wifi Choupal Scheme. The launch of Wi-Fi hotspots under the rural broadband project 'BharatNet' has seen 190 per cent jump in data usage to 95 tera byte in six months of the service as on April 30, 2018.
The wi-fi service provided through these hotspots will also allow user to make voice calls using broadband.
According to the tender document, 1 wi-fi hotspot will be deployed in GP with population of up to 1,000, 2 in GP with population of 3,500, 3 in population of up to 7,500, 4 for 12,000 population and 5 wi-fi hotspots in GPs where population is above 12,000.
The vendor deploying wi-fi or wireless broadband services will need to operate and maintain the entire infrastructure for a minimum period of four years from the date of successful completion.
Estimated budget for installation of Wi-Fi hotspots per GP has been kept at Rs 1.5 lakh. In the project around 2.3 lakh GPs are estimated to be covered.