Free Wi-Fi a flop

Free Wi-Fi a flop

Free Wi-Fi a flop

Since 2013, governments and private companies have baited Bengaluru with announcements of free Wi-Fi hotspots at public places.

The announcement is accompanied by much fanfare, and then…  sorry, you are not connected to the Internet.

"The earlier projects were experimental. Bengaluru doesn't have free Wi-Fi provided by the government now," Priyak Kharge, Karnataka's minister for information technology, told Metrolife.

The pilot project provided "a lot of learning", he says.

 "Drawing from our experience, we plan to provide 40-50 hotspots in the city by mid-February. By the end of March, we will provide 300 free public Wi-Fi hotspots in the city," he says.

 Most citizens are unaware the free Wi-Fi is scrapped.

"I used it when it was announced initially but later on I was asked to download an app. We need Wi-Fi for five or so minutes we spend at the station. Who has the time to download an app and log in?" says Laekhaa Eswarraj, a final year degree student.

Others have simply given up. "We mostly use our mobile data as it is faster and much more convenient," says student Nandini Reddy.

As Metrolife went around looking for a Wi-Fi signal at the station, Nandini was browsing with her friend Rashika on the steps.

The customer service and ticket counter staff at the station pointed at each other when asked about free  Wi-Fi.

Varun Hemachandran, founder of NGO Talking Earth, says he is not surprised the state government stopped free Wi-Fi without any intimation. He believes the government would have boasted about it if it had worked.

"I have seen ads for free Wi-Fi all over the railway stations where it is provided. It does work brilliantly there, but I guess that's because Google is also involved in it," he says.