In a major step to provide free Wi-Fi to residents of the capital, the expenditure finance committee (EFC) of Delhi government gave its approval to the project on Friday.
The proposal is likely to be put before Delhi cabinet on Friday, following which the public works department will float tenders to invite telecom companies to provide this facility.
A source said the EFC has approved the ‘hotspot’ model to provide free internet to Delhiites. Delhi government is likely to set up about 11,000 hotspots across the city where residents will be able to access the internet.
A Delhi government official said that each of the 70 assembly constituencies will have about 100 hotspots. Routers will be installed at prominent locations such as mohalla clinics, dispensaries, parks and prominent markets and buildings. Apart from this, 4,000 hotspots will be installed at bus queue shelters.
The official said that Wi-Fi signals will be available within a radius of about 50 metres from where the router is installed. Each user will get 15GB of free data per month through this technology. EFC has approved Rs 99 crore for this project and PWD has been assigned the responsibility to create a robust free Wi-Fi system in the city.
Though Delhi government, in its outcome budget in June this year, had said that the tender for the Wi-Fi project was likely to be floated in January 2020 with the project slated to be completed by September 2020, sources said the deadline has been advanced and the entire city will turn into a free Wi-Fi zone by early next year.
Providing free internet to Delhiites was among the 70 major poll promises made by Aam Aadmi Party ahead of the 2015 assembly polls. Officials said it took the government a lot of research and continuous efforts of more than two years to finalise the technology and reach a stage where the project could be implemented. Opposition parties too, on several occasions, have criticised AAP for making “lofty” poll promises but doing little to implement them.
Government officials, however, said that chief minister Arvind Kejriwal held several meetings with officials associated with the project in the last few months and set stringent deadlines to implement it.
The EFC also gave its approval to install an additional 1.4 lakh CCTV cameras in the city. The state government had earlier said that it will install 2,000 cameras in each assembly constituency. When work started in June this year, Kejriwal announced that 1.4 lakh more such cameras will be installed, taking the total number of CCTVs to 4,000 in each assembly constituency.