Mumbai gets India's largest free public Wi-Fi network

Posted on Jan 9 2017 - 1:20pm by Huzoor Bux


The Bollywood city is getting free Wi-Fi access.

Over 500 Wi-Fi hotspots are now live in Mumbai, Devendra Fadnavis the chief minister of the western Indian state of Maharashtra announced today. This is the largest free public Wi-Fi project of its nature in India.

The government began testing the service on Jan. 2., and in a week more than 23,000 users access the free Wi-Fi, Fadnavis said, adding that the users have already downloaded more than 2TB of data. 

The installation of 500 free Wi-Fi hotspots marks the end of phase one of the government’s free internet project. It plans to deploy another 700 Wi-Fi hotspots across the region by May 1. 

Some of the places where the free Wi-Fi is live include the bus depots in Bandra and Goregaon, Churchgate junction, Hinduja College, Mithibai College junction, Gateway of India, Marine Drive, Vidhan Bhavan, and Shivaji Lake. You can find the complete list here. 

The government’s mega-project to turn Mumbai into a “Wi-Fi city” was announced in August last year. At the time, the BJP government had aimed to switch on Wi-Fi at 500 hotspots by November. 

For its free internet, the government is using the state-run MTNL’s network. The free network lasts for either 1GB of data (offered at 20Mbps) or 30 minutes, whichever is hit first.

It’s a major development for people in Mumbai, who also have free Wi-Fi access at some railway stations. Google, in partnership with RailTel, rolled out free Wi-Fi at 100 railway stations in India last year, and plans to expand it to 100 more railway stations this year, and another 200 railway stations in the years to come. 

A state government providing free internet — albeit with certain limitations — however, is a major push forward. Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi, had also announced plans to make free internet available across the state before the state elections in 2015. One-and-a-half years later, the plan is yet to materialize.

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