‘Govt. should facilitate in policy making, private sector should own network to connect India seamlessly via wireless broadband’
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Member of Parliament and Technology Entrepreneur, has underlined the need for making high quality Wi-Fi available and accessible across the country for which it was imperative for the Government of India to partner with states and private service providers in the space. He recommends that the government could be owners of the fundamental policy making but the owner of the network should be private sector to make the initiative a success.
While delivering the inaugural address at the 'Wireless Broadband Vision Forum' on the theme 'India, Wi-Fi and Smart City Development', in New Delhi on August 13, 2015, organised by FICCI in collaboration with Global Wi-Fi Broadband Alliance, to advance the policy objectives of the Digital India program, Chandrasekhar said that it would be appropriate to provide Wi-Fi access free of cost to a selected faction who deserves it rather than making it free for all. He added that any program started with the aim of providing free service suffers from suboptimal facilities and poor quality.
Chandrasekhar stated that Digital India has tangible benefits and can have a multiplier effect on country's productivity and GDP. He added that India's internet penetration stands at a low level today, hence it provides a huge opportunity for the government and private sector to make India connected via internet.
Speaking on 'Delhi Wi-Fi - A Smart City Perspective from India', in his keynote address, Ashish Khetan, Vice Chairman, Delhi Dialogue Commission, Government of NCT of Delhi, said that it was one of the biggest challenges for the Delhi Government to draft a policy for providing seamless access and quality service of Wi-Fi in Delhi at an affordable cost. He added that within a few weeks the Request for Proposal (RFP) would be finalised and placed in the public domain.
Khetan said that the government proposes to provide speed of 1 Mbps and 1GB data download free for the citizens of Delhi. In the first phase of the programme, all Delhi colleges, including government and private, would be enabled with public Wi-Fi. Subsequently, in the second phase, all villages in Delhi would have Wi-Fi facility and in the third phase the focus would be on connecting unauthorised colonies of Delhi.
Shrikant Shenwai, CEO, Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), said that end-user focus for next generation Wi-Fi experience means making it easier for users to find and access hotspot service locations; offering a user experience that is simple and consistently better; and allowing seamless interoperability, across devices, operators & networks and WBA aims to achieve this by bringing the stakeholders on the same platform.
Virat Bhatia, Chairman, FICCI Communications & Digital Economy Committee, said that to advance the policy objectives of the Digital India program, the Wireless Broadband Vision Forum facilitated a thought-provoking dialogue that explored the opportunities and challenges associated with delivering transformational connectivity for the Government of India's 100 Smart Cities Program. .
R to L: Ashish Khetan, Vice Chairman, Delhi Dialogue Commission, Government of NCT of Delhi; Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Member of Parliament and Technology Entrepreneur; Dr. Arbind Prasad, Director General, FICCI and Shrikant Shenwai, CEO, Wireless Broadband Alliance.