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Mumbai’s Free Public Wi-Fi Project Remains Inactive for Three Years; Here’s Why

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Mumbai's Free Public Wi Fi Project Remains Inactive For Three Years; Here’s Why

Mumbai‘s free public Wi-Fi project, launched in 2017, has been non-operational for the past three years. Officials argue that the project is no longer necessary as telecommunications companies offer affordable internet services. There are currently no plans to revive the project, but Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expressed interest in exploring its reinstatement.

Mumbai, the first city in India to offer public Wi-Fi, introduced the initiative in 2017. The service was initially free for individuals for up to 1 GB of data or the initial half-hour of usage. Over time, the number of hotspots increased to 585. However, with the availability of cheaper internet services from telecom companies, officials believe the necessity for the project has diminished.

The state government had allocated Rs 194 crore for the project over a span of five years. However, after a change in government, the project gradually halted and has not been revived since 2020. The infrastructure at around 600 hotspots has deteriorated, and a recent Right to Information query revealed that Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited served as the bandwidth provider, while Larsen & Toubro was the system integrator.

The State Information Technology Department stated that there are currently no plans to revive the project. However, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, now under the leadership of Eknath Shinde, has expressed interest in exploring the possibility of reinstating the initiative.

Rachel Adams

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