Google, Facebook contribute to Kejriwal’s free Wi-Fi dream


By NewsGram Staff Writer

arvindkejriwalNew Delhi: Top global names in the internet and telecom sectors like Google and Facebook have been in discussions with the Arvind Kejriwal government, which aims at making Delhi a free wi-fi city, putting it at par with San Francisco, Stockholm and Shanghai in providing free internet connectivity throughout the city.

As the project of making Delhi a free public wi-fi city gains momentum, government officials are expecting some of the world’s best known tech firms to come forth to help in implementing the project throughout the city, over the next two months.

A Delhi government official told the Economic Times (ET), “Google, Facebook, Cisco, which is a global leader, Aruba, Ericsson, Vodafone, all of these companies, including many domestic firms, have all consulted with us and shown interest.” The official also said that the RFP tender document has been drafted and is waiting for final approval from the administration.

“Half of the discussion has been finished, the remaining half will be done on Sunday afternoon. CM said though it is a holiday, he will have a meeting. He changed massive portions of the RFP and redid the proposal,” the official said.

Regarding the same project, Google gave a statement to ET, “We were approached for suggestions in very early stage discussion of this project.” Facebook said, “We are committed to working with various government agencies to help make Digital India a reality.”

Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri, the AAP government’s IT face, who oversaw the planning and consultation process of this project confirmed the interest shown by the companies.

Shastri told ET: “The interest level is very high (among global firms) because of the huge opportunity that they feel and the fact that this is a huge database. From a social standpoint they all want to participate in bridging the digital divide. Also, Delhi being a capital city, if you do something here, you are able to showcase something not just in India but also rest of the world.”

There are two crore devices in Delhi and capacity for simultaneous log-in for 50 lakh devices will be in place over a period of time. If cleared by the cabinet in mid-September, the tender document will be circulated soon and the officials expect tenders to be awarded in October.