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Karnataka Dy CM DK Shivakumar, IT minister Priyank Kharge discuss public wifi in Bengaluru, rollout likely by December

Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar and IT/BT Minister Priyank Kharge on Sunday discussed rolling out free public wifi zones in Bengaluru.

“We plan to have about 5,000 public hotspots in Bengaluru,” Kharge told ET, saying it was a project he initiated as IT/BT Minister over five years ago, but was still stuck where it was.

“We will start talking to telecom service as well as broadband service providers,” the IT/BT Minister said, adding that the government planned to roll it out by December.

The long pending project is part of the Digital Karnataka goal, aiming to provide wifi access to everyone. With no investment from the government, the earlier plan was to give data free for the first 30 minutes or an hour and charge for use beyond that.

In November 2019, the BBMP and ACT Fibernet signed an MoU to make public wifi available in nine months, but it remains a non-starter. However, the broadband service provider has already rolled out the free public wifi project in Hyderabad with about 4,000 hotspots and also has it in parts of Chennai. In Bengaluru, it rolled out free wifi as a pilot in Malleshwaram four months ago.

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“Bangalore, being the IT capital of the country, deserves to be at the forefront of digital adoption. ACT Fibernet being the pioneer in this space, would always be willing to support the government initiative and we are glad that the IT/BT minister has taken it as a priority to make this happen this time,” ACT CEO Bala Malladi told ET.

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