New Delhi: The Arvind Kejriwal government Thursday announced free Wi-Fi across Delhi, after his cabinet cleared a proposal to this effect earlier in the day.
A 2015 manifesto promise of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the project has missed several deadlines. It’s now slated to go live months before the capital heads for the polls in February 2020.
According to the chief minister, a total of 11,000 Wi-Fi hotspots offering free internet will come up across the city over the next three months. Out of these, 4,000 will be at bus stops, while the remaining 7,000 will be installed across various spots in the city, including at big public parks and mohalla clinics, he added.
Each hotspot will be able to serve as many as 200 users at a time, with a maximum speed of 200 Mbps and every user getting 15GB free internet a month, Kejriwal said.
“…This is the single biggest initiative of a government anywhere in the world, providing such a big number of free Wi-Fi hotspots,” he later tweeted.
When it first made the promise in 2015, the AAP had claimed the ensuing internet connectivity will help bridge the digital divide and provide an impetus to entrepreneurship, education and employment.
In the 2015-16 budget, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had termed the promise a major step in making Delhi a technologically-advanced city.
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Asked whether the project may now seem redundant, given that cheap internet is more freely available than in 2015, the CM said, “I somewhat agree with you but, the thing is, it’s still something I get asked about. When I step out, the youth time and again asks me about this promise.”
Also present at Thursday’s press conference, Power Minister Satyendar Jain said the project costs will be shared by the government and the vendor.
“The entire capital investment in setting up the infrastructure will be made by the vendor, but the government will bear the operating cost of about Rs 100 crore per annum for providing free 15 GB Wi-Fi per month for all users,” he added.
More CCTV cameras for Delhi residents
The CM also announced the cabinet’s approval for the installation of 1.4 lakh additional CCTV cameras in the residential areas of Delhi, apart from the 1.4 lakh already being installed.
“Delhi becomes the first city in the world where the government is installing nearly three lakh CCTVs in one go to ensure women’s safety and to provide a major push to infrastructure,” he added. “There may be more CCTVs in other cities but Delhi is the first city where three lakh CCTVs are coming up in a single go.
“Around 1.4 lakh CCTV cameras are being installed across all 70 assembly constituencies in the city. Two thousand cameras are being installed in each constituency,” Kejriwal said. “The public response about these CCTV cameras has been overwhelmingly positive. These cameras have already started helping local authorities nab thieves and miscreants.”
Saying that 2,000 cameras for each assembly may not be sufficient, Kejriwal added that the cabinet had approved the purchase of 1.4 lakh more CCTV cameras.
The installation, he said, will begin “in the next 3-4 months.”
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