India’s top telco, Bharti Airtel has launched Free Wi-Fi service in the city of Hyderabad. The Wi-Fi hotspots have been setup to cover 17 locations across the IT hub in Hyderabad.
This service would benefit about 40,000 daily commuters and visitors in the area by enabling them to access high-speed internet on any Wi-Fi enabled device.
“It is a pilot project where we are testing the waters across 17 locations before extending full-fledged hotspot connectivity to the entire city,” said IT and Panchayat Raj minister K.T. Rama Rao.
He also said the government is planning to cover the whole area (700 sq. km) in the city in four months.
Speed and Availablity of Free WiFi Hotspots
One logged in, the the user would be able to browse the web at speeds averaging around 4 Mbps. The maximum speed is however limited to 42 Mbps. Airtel has used fibre technology for providing such a fast internet.
The free Wi-Fi access would be available in the stretches from Cyber Towers to Madhapur police station, Cyber Towers to Kothaguda junction, and from Cyber Towers to Raheja Mindspace circle covering about 8 kms.
“To avail the service, users must select the Wi-Fi network through their mobile devices in these locations,” said Venkatesh Vijayraghvan, Airtel CEO.
Upon connecting to the Wi-Fi, the user will have to confirm his mobile number via a one-time password (OTP). After that, they would be able to use 750 MB of high-speed data each day for a period of 3 months.
Confirming the mobile number will ensure that Airtel knows who is using the connection and for what purpose. Some privacy advocates might not like to enter their mobile numbers, but it is really important for curbing cyber crimes and other offences on the internet.
Airtel’s CEO also said that this pilot project would help the company understand the consumer requirements, and in studying the local market. The consumers will be charged for crossing the free usage limit.
Bharti Airtel would think of pricing the service after the completion of the trial period. The IT minister further said that the government would extend the support for increasing the number of connected areas and is also working on roping in even more service providers.
This is really a great initiative by the local government. It will not only help the people in staying connected with their loved ones via high-speed high-quality connection, but will let a few avoid the need to purchase a data pack. This free Wifi service would help Airtel in the long-term and for deciding the tariff plans. Airtel is one of the first telecom operators in India for covering such a large public area with its wifi hotspots. We hope that governments of other states will learn something from this and will do the needful.
What would you do if you get free Wi-Fi access in your locality? Would you completely ditch 3G data plans in favour of using the Wi-Fi at home, office, and while travelling?