A novel initiative providing free Wi-Fi sees the continuation of the long process of bringing rural Karnataka online.
The inaugural session of the Bengaluru Technology Summit saw the launch of the government initiative to provide 2,560 gram panchayats with free Wi-Fi. On Thursday, 500 gram panchayats across the State began using Wi-Fi services, from the comfort of their homes.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said to the Indian Express “While we continue to remain the leaders in the IT industry across the country, it is my dream to see Bengaluru and Karnataka become a global destination for the IT and biotech sectors. We are working towards this by launching incubators in other cities like Kalaburagi, Hubbali and Mysuru as well”
More than 90% of Karnataka’s villages are covered under the Bharatnet programme of the state-owned BSNL, which is what made it easier to provide Wi-Fi services to them, say officials.
A pilot project was launched last year in November 2016, in 11 villages in the districts of Mysuru, Tumkuru, Gadag, Ballari, Kalaburgi and Bagalkot. Scaling up rapidly, the project shall now include all 2,560 gram panchayats, by the end of the financial year.
The introduction of free Wi-Fi in villages is great, especially since March saw free high-speed Wi-Fi introduced in more railway stations across Karnataka. Out of 210 access points already in major stations, 79 are in Bengaluru and 45 in Yesvantpur. Internet access in rural areas, as well as important transit points, helps everyone stay connected.
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The Wi-Fi services in villages will be provided up to a range of a kilometre from the Gram Panchayat office.
The connection is robust, allowing high-speed browsing for the first 100 MB after which there is either a speed reduction or a fee. This connection can also be extended to schools if required.