BENGALURU: Karnataka, which has been in the forefront of adopting technology in various spheres, is set for another big leap. In a bold attempt, the Department of Information Technology, Biotechnology and Science and Technology is coming up with public wi-fi service across the state. While urban areas will get the service in clusters, the rural wi-fi service will cover the entire geographical area of a village.
The Department has proposed two models -- one for urban and another for rural areas. While the urban wi-fi service will be a business model, the rural wi-fi service will work under concessional tariff to encourage more and more people residing in rural areas to use internet services.
Speaking to Express, Gaurav Gupta, Principal Secretary to the IT, BT and Science-Technology Department said that earlier, people used to look for wi-fi services in cities. But now, with advance technology and better infrastructure, most parts of cities are covered by 3G and 4 G internet services. However, there are some places which still need wi-fi services.
“We have already held with two rounds of meeting with 13 telecom and internet service providers. Some of them have shown interest. We are working on how existing public infrastructure can be used for putting up wi-fi devices,’’ he said. It could be a lamp post or median or even a government high-rise building.
“We also need to check the wi-fi range at identified places. Water- and fire-resistant wi-fi devices can be clamped on the outside. The service providers should provide the infrastructre or they can utilise the existing ones. The government and the service providers are working on it. We are framing some guidelines,’’ he said.
On the modes of payment for wi-fi services in urban areas, Gupta said it will be mostly online. The service provider can develop a mobile application or an online service can be introduced.
Referring to the rural wi-fi service, Gupta said this was announced by Chief Minister Siddaramiah in the budget. “We are taking up wi-fi in 2,500 villages (headquarters of gram panchayats. Each village will have three wi-fi acess points. The tariff for rural services will be one-third of the tariff in urban areas. Users can either go for prepaid or post-paid services and can choose plans as per their usage. Like their power, water bills, one can pay their wi-fi bill too,’’ he said.
State-run BSNL will provide the rural wi-fi service. “Under Bharat Net, optical fibre has been laid in rural areas. More than 90 per cent of the villages in Karnataka are covered. More villages will be added,’’ the Principal Secretary said.