Free WiFi hotspots in city? Not re­ally

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Suren­dra P Gan­gan suren­dra.gan­gan@hin­dus­tan­times.com Manasi Phadke manasi.phadke@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Even as the gov­ern­ment plans to ac­ti­vate 500 WiFi hotspots in Mum­bai in Novem­ber, the ser­vices won’t be free. While the data will be free for the first 30 min­utes, you will have to pay Rs65 for 1GB data af­ter that us­ing the coupons that will be made avail­able at var­i­ous kiosks across the city.

“It will still be the cheap­est. We plan to charge Rs65 for 1GB, for which pri­vate play­ers charge Rs225,” said Vi­jay Ku­mar Gau­tam, prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary, depart­ment of In­for­ma­tion and Tech­nol­ogy (DIT), adding the coupons will be in the form of scratch cards with ac­cess code (or pass­word).

But you will have to pay only af­ter March 2017, un­til which you can ac­cess un­lim­ited data.

The city is ex­pected to get 1,200 hotspots with three-four ac­cess points each by May 2017 un­der the pi­lot project. Ev­ery ac­cess point is ex­pected to cost the state ap­prox­i­mately Rs2.50 lakh, push­ing up the to­tal cost to Rs125 crore. The depart­ment plans to use the poles in­stalled for the CCTV sur­veil­lance project for its WiFi net­work. “We have in­stalled 2,293 poles un­der the CCTV sur­veil­lance net­work project. They can be eas­ily used to cre­ate 500 hotspots in the first phase,” said an of­fi­cial from Mantralaya.

In a first, the real es­tate and in­fra­struc­ture projects await­ing coastal reg­u­la­tion zone (CRZ) nod has come down to zero, with the state’s coastal zone man­age­ment au­thor­ity hear­ing more than 200 pro­pos­als in a four-day meet­ing last month. A ma­jor­ity of them were cleared.

The list of projects cleared by the Ma­ha­rash­tra Coastal Zone Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity (MCZMA) in­cludes two new Metro lines for Mum­bai, which will add 42.1km to Mum­bai’s mea­gre metro rail net­work.

Satish Gavai, prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary, state en­vi­ron­ment depart­ment, said, “Around 220 pro­pos­als had piled up and the MCZMA cleared them all in a marathon meet­ing last month.”

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