B'lore dreams Sci-Fi through free WiFi [DNA : Daily News & Analysis (India)]
(DNA : Daily News & Analysis (India) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) "Bangalore: Now you can access internet on your mobile and tablets as you stroll down the MG Road boulevard or while shopping at Brigade Road, with Bangalore on Friday becoming the first city in Asia where free wi-fi connectivity is offered the by government in the central business district (CBD) and other commercial hot spots.
The free wi-fi connectivity is now available in Mahatma Gandhi Road, Brigade Road, CMH Road, Shanthi Nagar , Yeshwantpur and Koramangala bus stations.
The free wi-fi in Bangalore's CBD is the first in the country, although airports, star hotels, high-end coffee shops and book shops offer such service already.
With a speed of up to 512 Kbps, the user will have seamless connectivity within the coverage area. Usage will be limited to three hours per day or usage of up to 50 MB data. The total number of access points will be 23 in the coverage area which will accommodate 2,000 users at the same time.
To use this service, the user will need to have an authentication password which will be sent to the user's mobile phone number after he registers on the network.
Minister for IT, BT and S&T SR Patil who launched the connectivity, called Namma Wifi (802.11N), said the service will be extended to 10 more locations over a period of time. The facility would be later offered Tier-II cities in the state like Hubli-Dharwad, Mysore and Mangalore.
Mysore, although, has free wi-fi hotspots such as the Mysore university campus at Manasagangothri, Central Food Technology Research Institute (CFTRI), CSR& TI (Central Sericulture Research and Training Institute), Maharaja's College hostels, since 2010.
Secretary IT, BT and S&T Srivatsa Krishna said the wi-fi system was foolproof, but details the site the users log on to and the content download will be monitored.
In future, he said, applications would be developed to enable the public to see if parking space is available on commercial hot spots like MG Road and Brigade Road through live video images which will be beamed on their mobiles or laptops. High definition surveillance cameras and road sensors will be installed for the purpose.
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Group 2020 headed by chairman of Manipal Global Education in its report submitted to the BJP government in January 2013 recommended that free wi-fi be provided in Bangalore.
After the Congress government came to power, chief minister Siddaramaiah announced in his budget that the government would launch a pilot scheme on MG Road and Brigade Road in Bangalore, and later similar pilot schemes would be launched in Hubli-Dharwad, Mangalore and Mysore.
Ramesh Sathya of D-Vois Broadband, a city based internet service provider (ISP), which is providing the wi-fi service, said his company was providing the service free of cost for six months, the length of the pilot project.
Considering that the government is planning to expand in 10 more locations in the city, if the free Wi Fi service turns out to be a hit, other ISPs would join the bandwagon and a revenue-sharing model will be worked out.
Future apps on free wi-fi""Solve traffic problems
Using this app, commuters, before leave home, can check if parking space is available on commercial hot spots like MG Road and Brigade Road, through live video images which will be streamed on mobiles or laptops. High definition surveillance cameras and road sensors will be installed to enable the service. ""Garbage disposal
Sensors would be fitted to dustbins and once a dustbin is full, the sensor would send an alert to the civil authorities to unload the bin.""Cities that tried and failed
The debate whether cities and towns should provide free wi-fi continues to rage. Proponents argue that it is a public service that would provide internet to those who cannot afford it, encourage tourism by offering visitors an option to escape costly roaming charges, and boost business by persuading shoppers to visit commercial centres. The opponents are gloomy about the revenue model, and point to two such experiments that failed - Swindon and Islington Town Councils in UK. Islingon launched the service in 2005 with a four-km "hotzone" with roadside lampposts acting as towers, and extended the service to 10,000 local authority homes, only to scrap the scheme in March 2011, due to budget cuts. At Swindon, the plan before it could become operational, when a company in which the town council invested 4,00,000 pounds went bust. The council has not given up and has invited another firm to provide wi-fi, but the service is not likely to be free.""
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