BSNL is planning to spend Rs. 6,000 crores to set up over 40,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots across the country by 2018. The tender for the project will be launched next month and is expected to be completed by 2018.
According to reports, BSNL will set up 2,500 Wi-Fi hot spots across 250 locations in India at the cost of Rs. 500 crore in 2015. BSNL CMD Anupam Shrivastava revealed that the state run telecom operator has already set up 200 such hotspots already. The telco will be providing free Wi-Fi services for 30 minutes per 24 hrs (three times in a month) which visitors can utilize in multiple sessions. Users can also continue to use the service on paid basis after the free sessions expire, at nominal subscription plans starting from Rs. 20 for a 30 min validity, Rs 30 for 60 mins, Rs. 50 for 120 mins and Rs. 70 for one day.
Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad recently launched the Wi-Fi facility at the Taj Mahal as part of the government's plan to put such services at major tourist attractions across India. He stated at the launch that a global tender for this project will be placed in July seeking private participation. He stated, "BSNL will set up 40,000 Wi-Fi hot spots across the country and the project is likely to be completed by 2018."
BSNL CMD Anupam Srivastava stated that the free WiFi hotspots will help the state run telecom operator take on private telecom operators. “Our 3G reach is around 60% across 20 circles. By offering 40,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, we will be able to reach out to almost 85% of our total network with high-speed internet services,” said Srivastava.
BSNL which announced free unlimited night calls from landlines in May, has now reported an increased interest for its traditional wired telephones. The telco stated that the demand for reconnection has also jumped by 20-25 per cent. "In the last two months we have seen growth of 30 per cent in registration for new connection compared to April 2015," BSNL GM (Calcutta Telephones) responsible for fixed lines, K C Ghosh said. "There had been revenue growth of 2.15 per cent to Rs 675 crore in FY15 up from Rs 661 crore registered in the previous fiscal," he said.