Bengaluru to get free high-speed Wi-Fi zones soon

Tech major Cisco announced a pilot project to set up 25 free Wi-Fi zones

Bengaluru will soon get free high-speed Wi-Fi zones at select locations across the city. Tech major Cisco on Monday announced a pilot project to set up 25 such zones and scale it up gradually.

Cisco, which commenced its two-day tech summit at Kochi, said it will work with Google's gStation platform to provide communities around the country access to a free, open, high-quality public Wi-Fi connectivity. 

The pilot project has been launched at places like Jayanagar bus stand and Udupi Garden in BTM Layout among others, which will be expanded further. The project is being conducted in collaboration with a local ISP provider Dvois.

By September this year, 200 locations across Bengaluru will be Wi-Fi enabled, followed by another 300 in the second phase. These will not be in railway stations but in public locations such as bus stations, hospitals and busy traffic areas as well, a top company official said.

Talking about the project, Sameer Garde, president, Cisco India & SAARC said, "Moving to high-speed Internet access will increase user engagement and benefit millions of users. The success of digitisation and digital citizen services is also closely tied to the proliferation of high-speed Internet. The demand for public Wi-Fi hotspots is expected to go up by 100x over the next three years, creating new markets for Cisco and our partners."

Google had earlier tied up with Rail Tel to offer free Wi-Fi in select railway stations about three years ago and is also in a partnership with BSNL.

A Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) report states that globally, there is a Wi-Fi hotspot for every 150 people. In India, eight million additional hotspots must be installed to achieve the ratio, since the country has only 52,000 Wi-Fi hotspots presently. A Cisco VNI report states that nearly 59% of Internet traffic will be on Wi-Fi networks by 2022. This project, the company says, will help get more Indians online.

Sajith Sivanandan, managing director and business head, Google Pay and Next Billion User Initiatives, India said, "Solving for access is one of the core pillars of our Next Billion Users strategy, and with gStation we have developed a WiFi solution that provides quality broadband experience to users."

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