HYDERABAD:As part of the efforts to make Hyderabad a global smart city, the Telangana government had launched the ‘Hyderabad city wi-fi’ project enabling 1,000 wi-fi hotspots across the city in June last year. The government also assured a bandwidth of 5-10 Mbps offering 30 minutes of free wi-fi per day. During the launch meet of ‘Hy-fi’, Bharati Airtel CEO, Venkatesh Vijayraghvan said that anybody with a valid mobile number can access this facility. Once the Wi-Fi has been switched on, the user needs to submit the mobile number, following which a username and one-time password (OTP) would be sent to the user via SMS. Using the password, the user can log on and use the free Wi-Fi, he explained. Just as easy it may sound, it’s not.
Using the public wi-fi can be exhausting at times. It can potentially remind any 90s kid of their annoying television sets back then or even the snake maze game with ascending levels of difficulty. Firstly, It’s hard to find a spot where the wi-fi is constant and does not flicker. If you can find one and you switch on to the wi-fi, you got to be lucky to not see “failed to obtain IP address”.
In case you are not frustrated by then and still manage to try and connect a few more times at different spots, the wi-fi might as well get connected. But before you think “that’s great!”, there is more to it. Here comes the most taxing part - signing in. Depending on the ISP of the place, a web page of ACT, BSNL or Airtel pops up, asking you to register, for which you need to enter in your phone numbers, name and e-mail ID (optional). After you register, an OTP (one time password) is to be sent to your phone, ideally, within a minute. But it feels like you have travelled to Mars and got lost in eternity by the time you receive the message. In this case, it was around eight minutes! After you enter the OTP, you get the connection. By chance, if you happen to get through all these levels of the wi-fi maze, kudos amigos! You have all the reasons to feel like an achiever. You can finally stop frowning and enjoy free wi-fi for the next 30 minutes of your day. To top it all, for the net-savvy people in the city, here is the good news – this public wi-fi you get for half an hour is great. Enough great to watch YouTube (with almost no buffering), to conveniently book a cab, to check out Instagram stories and Facebook feed, to order food and even a video call is totally possible. However, all of this can only happen at places with strong connection. As per the statement from Airtel, wi-fi will be present malls, tourist spots, public offices, police stations, government schools and college. Here is a list of few places with public wi-fi in Hyderabad. Our writer tried logging in at Necklace Road (6 pm), KBR Park (7 pm) and Charminar (8 pm) on Sunday.
Though government claims around 40,000 commuters and visitors will get benefited by the public wi-fi, major chunk of population are unaware of this facility. While some say ‘it is because the private net banks have become more affordable’, others chose to blame the government and say ‘public wi-fi is not accessible’.
Places with wi-fi Connection strength
Jal vihar High
Jalagam Vengala Rao park High
Lumbini park High
Punjagutta circle Low
Mahatma Gandhi Bus stand Does not exist
Osmania hospital Does not exist
Tank bund mediocre
Necklace road Mediocre
(High means good enough to even watch a YouTube video or do a Facebook live. Mediocre means bad enough that you cannot even book a cab)