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Free public Wi-Fi, smart city initiatives in Delhi

Plan to cap Wi-Fi use at 50 megabytes per day

The government of Delhi, India, plans to deploy free public Wi-Fi in the city, as well as other Internet-based transit, utility and health services in efforts to make Delhi a “smart city.”

A pitch of the Aam Aadmi Party, the latest iteration of the Wi-Fi plan considers no time limit on usage, but rather a cap on data usage at 50 megabytes per day, according to a report from the The Indian Express. The goal is a minimum Internet throughput of 512 kilobits per second with Web browsing, social media use, e-mail and WhatsApp treated as free services, while video downloads and chats will come with a charge.

“We will not fix a time but will restrict bandwidth,” Parlimentary Secretary Adarsh Shastri told The Indian Express. “Internet will be charged on the basis of data usage per day. Once the data limit is exhausted, users can avail the service by paying for extra usage. The system will be reset daily.”

Government officials reportedly said a solicitation of interest would go out by the end of May followed by a formal request for proposals process; some 150 companies from around the world have apparently expressed interest in the large-scale metro public Wi-Fi deployment.

Shastri said that the state-funded project will also look to create new municipal revenue.

“This will be a first-of-its-kind project to be tested on such a large scale,” he said. “If at any point, 25% to 30% [of] people access the Internet, it means [100,000] users. We can also categorize the content being accessed, which has a big scope for targeted advertising.”

Also in the works is a card-based transport system that would integrate multimodal transportation services into a single card that a user needs to access transport.

“Delhi has moved to a multitransport system,” Shastri said. “We have buses, autos, cabs, metro, and the process is to integrate it all together and issue a single card which can be used to access all transport modes. Through this card, one can pay in the metro, bus and even pay for parking and toll taxes.”

Ericsson, Nokia and other network providers are moving aggressively into the smart and connected society and industry market.

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