Keeping the promise made a mere five months ago, Mumbai has rolled out its first phase of 500 Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the city. Yes, you heard it right! 500 Wi-Fi hotspots! With this, Mumbai has become the only city to deploy more than 500 public Wi-Fi hotspots across the city. In fact, the city is not likely to stop here. By May 2017, the number of public Wi-Fi hotspots is going to see an increase from 500 to 1,200.
While Google has partnered with RailTel to offer high-speed Internet access to users at railway stations, the Maharashtra Government is using state-run MTNL’s network for its public Wi-Fi deployment. The wide coverage of MTNL’s telephone lines across the city has given the State Government an advantage to cover as many locations as possible, and not just some prime spots.
Deploying these Wi-Fi hotspots in the first phase is indeed an impressive work from the Maharashtra Government. That said, during the trial period between January 2 to January 8, 2017, more than 20,000 users across the city signed up and consumed over 2TB of data.
Recently, Gandhinagar became India’s largest public Wi-Fi network. At present, Gandhinagar is the only city deployed with more than 750 Wi-Fi access points covering 75 per cent of the total city area.
How to access?
The entire process to access Internet has been kept pretty simple so that more and more people can use it without any fuss. After turning on the Wi-Fi of your smartphone, a laptop or a tablet at a specific hotspot location, one can find a network named “Aaple_Sarkar_Mum-WiFi” on the list. For the first time registration, user has to manually click on the network and hit connect, whereas for already-registered users, Wi-Fi gets automatically connected.
Once connected, a web browser will pop up asking you to enter your mobile phone number. The user is required to enter the phone number, followed by a four-digit OTP code received through SMS on the number registered. Finally, tap in the login button to get your Internet started.
A point to note. In case you insert your SIM card in a different phone, you won’t be able to login, nor there is an option to reset your device. This is good from the security point of view, as it will not allow any unauthorised login using your phone number. This is because the binding is done with the mobile number and the smartphone (IMEI).
Again as promised, the Government has actually given 19.05 mbps download speed, which is close to the promised 20 mbps. Considering a free service, the speed is terrific! However, it keeps fluctuating between 2.4 mbps to 14.4 mbps. Meanwhile, the services will be free till January 31, thereafter the users will be charged for usage over 100 MB or longer than 30 minutes at a nominal charge of Rs 30 per 100 MB. The total cost of the entire project is Rs 194 crore. This cost is borne by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), a body of the State Government.
Meanwhile, Council’s lead partner Cisco is involved with the Rajasthan Government for a wide range of services including public Wi-Fi networks, connected parking, intelligent kiosks and a city-wide smart analytics surveillance network. According to Cisco, the newly-launched cloud collects and analyses data from third-party sensors, street cameras, and other devices. The conclusions from the data gathered and brought into Cisco’s cloud will help city leaders take stronger decisions that will bring down costs, enhance revenues and increase operational efficiency.