The Karnataka state government will soon provide free WiFi service on Mahatma Gandhi Road and Brigade Road in Bengaluru. The service is expected to start around next month which will make Bangalore the first city to have such a service, Economic Times has reported.
The idea is the brainchild of a government-appointed panel headed by Mohandas Pai, a former director at Infosys. The pilot service will be available for at least six months, after which panel will evaluate the network and announce possible expansion plans.
“A smartphone revolution is happening in India, but connectivity is still an issue here. We wanted to provide seamless internet access to people,” said Pai, who is also the chairman of the Manipal Global Education.
The decision to offer free wireless broadband access was taken last year and the recommendations of the ICT group were sent to Karnataka’s chief minister in January. Bangalore-based internet service provider D-VoiS has been assigned to implement the pilot free of charge. “Once the pilot finishes, we will talk to other private ISPs and figure out a revenue-sharing model,” Pai said.
However, what kind of revenue model can be generated is not clear, moreover opposition from 3G and 4G service providers is expected as the free WiFi service will impact their revenues.