Free Wi-Fi service down in Delhi since December as contract expires: Report
The contract to run Wi-Fi hotspots in Delhi between the Public Works Department and the private sector provider ended in December and the free Wi-Fi scheme has been down for a month, a report by The Times of India (TOI) said. It is unclear when the service will resume.
The PWD sent the proposal for renewal of the tender in November but did not get the government’s nod, the reportsaid. There are around 11,000 hotspots in Delhi and they provide 15 GB of free data to each user. While they were operating, they provided a speed of 200 MB per second to the user.
Free Wi-Fi was one of the 70 promises of the Aam Aadmi Party ahead of the 2015 elections. It was launched in the city in December 2019 but the hotspots were installed by PWD only during the Covid-19 pandemic. Over 21 lakh users have used the service, the report said.
Users within a radius of 50m of each hotspot could access the free internet. Also, each hotspot was able to concurrently handle 150-200 users.
The contract to the service provider was given on an operating expense (OpEx) service model in which the entire capital investment in setting up infrastructure was borne by the vendor. On the other hand, the state government bore the operating cost of providing 15 GB of free Wi-Fi per month to all users.
“The government has been getting a lot of complaints from people across the city about the non-availability of free internet…We just respond to them by saying the service is temporarily unavailable. There is no clarity, however, on when it is going to resume,” an official told TOI.
The state government had set aside Rs 100 crore per annum for the free Wifi service.