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With Delhi Govt’s refusal to renew PWD’s contract, no free Wi-Fi since Dec 15

Free internet through Wi-Fi hotspots, one of the much-hyped poll promises of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, is no longer available to citizens in Delhi as the contract period of the initiative has expired and permission has not yet been received to resume the scheme, said officials.

According to sources, the Public Works Department (PWD), under which the project was implemented and maintained, sent a proposal to the Delhi Government for its renewal but it is yet to receive approval to resume internet services across the city.

The scheme was launched in 2019 and the three-year contract given to a private service provider for the initiative ended in December last year. Fresh tenders are yet to be called to continue the work, sources said.

The capital investment and infrastructure cost were provided by the service provider/vendor, while the government bore the operating cost. Officials added that the PWD was asked to provide free Wi-Fi till December 15 and it was discontinued from December 16, a week after the results of the MCD polls were announced.

As per the Outcome Budget report of the planning department, 11,034 free Wi-Fi hotspots were installed across the city at public places such as parks, bus stops, Metro stations, markets and government buildings in all Assembly constituencies. The report also shows that on average 6.6 lakh people availed the free internet service on a daily basis and 99 per cent were satisfied with the internet speed.

Under the scheme, users signed up through their mobile number and received up to 15 GB free data every month with a 200 Mpbs internet speed. Officials said more than 20 lakh people used the free service. IndianExpress

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