NDMC ties up with MTNL in 2nd attempt at offering free Wi-Fi
New Delhi: With its ambitious Wi-Fi project in Connaught Place and Khan Market losing popularity due to poor connectivity, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has now tied up with Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) in a fresh attempt at offering free internet connectivity in its areas.
NDMC had partnered with Tata Teleservices in 2014 to provide the service in inner and outer circles of Connaught Place, one of the significant business and leisure centres in the city. The civic body had claimed that the service is the largest in India. Similarly, NDMC had partnered with Tata Docomo to provide the facility in Khan Market.
At present, the service can be availed by 5,000 people with an average speed of 512 Kbps. The first 20 minutes within a 24-hour period are entirely free after which scratch cards can be purchased in various denominations in the market. However, visitors and traders have been complaining for months that the service is not functioning seamlessly, a claim confirmed by the civic authorities.
“We had earlier launched the services with full preparation, but the plan did not work well. Initially, it worked fine but the connectivity has been slow lately,” a senior NDMC official saidI. “New Delhi Municipal Council Smart City Limited, a public limited company wholly owned by NDMC, has signed a joint venture with Millennium Telecom Limited (MTL)—a subsidiary of MTNL—to develop telecom access networks in our areas to provide FTTH (Fibre to the Home) to the residents,” he said.
The project has also been listed on the civic body’s “Smart City” agenda in the budget for 2016-17 presented last week. It plans to begin the new services in Connaught Place and then proceed to further areas. NDMC had in 2015 announced that all the areas under its jurisdiction will soon be a Wi-Fi zone and had joined hands with Indus Towers Limited to replace 18,500 street-light poles in its areas with ‘NextGen digital poles’ which will be fitted with Wi-Fi access points, LED bulbs and CCTV cameras which, it claimed, is first-of-its kind initiative in the world.
However, the project had taken a back seat with the Delhi high court directing NDMC to not sign the contract for award of tender till it hears a plea filed by Reliance Jio challenging the tender process. Fresh tenders have now been floated for the purpose.