New Delhi: Delhiites may get free Wi-Fi facility at public places next year as the Public Works Department (PWD) has set a target of launching the pilot projet for the same on 31 March next year.
According to the Delhi government’s “outcome budget" under which various departments set target for executing their schemes and projects, tenders for providing free Wi-Fi facility will be awarded by September this year.
Free Wi-Fi at public places across the city was one of Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) key poll promises. In March this year, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had said that Wi-Fi project, which was earlier with the information and technology (IT) department, has been given to the PWD to “expedite" the work.
However, in the ‘risk factor column’ in the outcome budget, the PWD said that in the meeting on 27 March this year, the department had intimated that the it will not be able to execute Wi-Fi project due to “non-availability of sufficient staff" and “no expertise" in this field. The department said the expected date for issue of request for proposals (RFP) is 30 June 2018. It also said that expected date for “commissioning of Wi-Fi hotspots at pilot stage" is 31 March 2019.
In its 2018-19 budget, the Delhi government has allocated Rs100 crore to provide Wi-Fi facility, even though the government did not mention a timeline for the completion of the project. In February this year, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that the AAP government was working on three to four models for implementing the project.
As the AAP formed its government in Delhi, the project was initially assigned to the Dialogue and Development Commission (DDC) of Delhi chaired by the chief minister. In March 2016, the DDC had started first free Wi-Fi facility on a three-month pilot basis in Sant Nagar market in north Delhi’s Burari. Thereafter, the ruling dispensation had promised that over 500 locations across east Delhi would be made high-speed Wi-Fi zones by December 2016, but there was no progress.