Hyderabad's Wi-Fi pilot, launched in April last year, missed the December deadline but is now picking up pace, Ranjan says. The government wants to focus on it aggressively after the elections to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation scheduled by end of the month After missing the December deadline, Hyderabad is stepping on the accelerator to provide Wi-Fi connectivity in public space by June. The aim is to spread the wireless mesh across the city, says K Tarakarama Rao, state IT minister, who is heading the initiative. says 3,000 public locations have been identified to make them Wi-Fi hotspots. "Parks, bus stands, shopping malls, all major places with sizeable footfalls will be Wi-Fi-enabled," he says. The government plans to distribute the hotspots equally among the three consortiums: BSNL-Quadgen, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) - for which Ericsson will provide the hotspot panels, and ACT-Cisco. The state's Wi-Fi will have two components - connectivity and hotspot panels -- and the companies have partnered by their strengths, Quadgen is looking at catering up to 400 users at any given time under each access point with assured bandwidth of between 2 and 20 mbps. Ranjan says the public Wi-Fi is only for basic services like accessing emails, government websites and some social media websites. "Expectations are very high from such projects, which are not meant for them," he says. Currently, the providers offer the service free of cost for the first 15 minutes, after which it is charged. Ranjan is confident the teething problems would be overcome once the government comes out with enabling orders to facilitate right of way works. "Hopefully in six months from now, it should be up and running." The IT department, meanwhile, is gearing up to market the project aggressively after the GHMC elections. It plans to put up signages and hoarding to let people know they are in a Wi-Fi zone.
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