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India plans free WiFi in 2,500 cities and towns

The Indian Government plans to roll-out a free high-speed Wi-Fi network in 2,500 cities and towns across the country.

The service will be offered free to subscibers of all mobile operators for a limited period, following which customers will be charged for access.

The network will cost nearly INR 70 billion, and will be built by State owned telecom service provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), the Times of India reported.

The ambitious project is part of the governments ‘Digital India‘ programme that aims to boost internet connectivity across the country.

Cities to receive the WiFi service include Kolkata, Chennai, Lucknow, Dehradun, Hyderabad, Varanasi, Bhopal, Jaipur, Patna, Indore, Chandigarh and Ludhiana.

The WiFi network will be built on using existing optic fibre and cable networks, and offer WiFi speeds comparable to “4-G levels” said BSNL Chairman Anupam Shrivastava.  “Around 50,000-60,000 Wi-Fi hotspots will be set up as part of the programme.”

The WiFi services will commence in 2015-2016 Financial year.

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Learn more about the Digital India programme.