The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has proposed providing 2500 cities and towns across India with free WiFi connectivity. The project will cost some seven thousand Indian rupees. The projects has gotten the nod of Modi cabinet (the current Indian Prime Minister) and cities are being selected though the communications BSNL has zeroed in some cities.
The WiFi service will be just like the services available at airports and cafes. To this end, some 50 to 60 thousand WiFi hotspots will created in each megacity and will be used to provide free Internet across the cities. Readers need to know that this is a step towards the “Digital India” dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In related news, Microsoft India intends to use the White Space between TV signal spectrums to provide wireless Internet to remote areas of India. This too will be free for a limited period. White Space is the unused space between different bandwidths that TV companies use to broadcast their programs. Among the different frequency ranges allocated to the TV channels for airing their programs, there remains a bit of unused frequency so that no two TV channel overlap each other. Microsoft is planning to use these unused frequencies for providing free Internet to users. Unlike BSNL, which is focusing on the developed cities and towns, Microsoft is focusing on rural areas and will most likely provide remote areas with Internet connectivity.
This remote connectivity and free WiFi connectivity will be utilized not only by users for anything but also by UGC to provide education to students of different educations. BSNL spokesperson said that the WiFi will be free for a limited time period and then they will charge a nominal annual or monthly subscription fee. Currently, they charge Rs 98 for providing 1Gb of 2G data on mobile phones. Since the free WiFi will be in the range of 4G speeds, the charges could be more than those of 2G range. They did not have any pricing strategy as of now. Probably, they will check out how the free Internet will fare before deciding on the pricing.
Meanwhile Microsoft did not make it clear if it has any intentions to charge for the Internet services it intends to provide using the TC spectrum White Space. In both cases, the first few months will see free Internet available throughout cities and villages across India. The projects will commence and will be ready by end of 2016, according to BSNL.