India’s biggest public Wi-Fi network, and among the world’s largest, went live at 500 dedicated hotspots across the city here on Monday, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said. “Happy to dedicate Phase 1 of MumbaiWiFi For this instance, 500 Hotspots go live across various locations in Mumbai,” Fadnavis said in a tweet. He added that while MumbaiWiFi is India’s largest public WiFi service and one of the biggest globally and another 700 hotspots will be active by May 1 – which is celebrated as Maharashtra Day. “As committed, 1,200 WiFi hotspots will be active by May 1, 2017. We will also monitor the progress on connectivity and speed,” Fadnavis added, after the first phase went active and became accessible to the people.
During the trial period between January 2-8, around 23,000 users signed up in Mumbai and downloaded more than 2TB (TetraByte) data, which Fadnavis termed as “a major aspect of digital empowerment in the state”. The WiFi – free with unlimited usage till January 31 – is now available at the offices of Mumbai Police Commissioner, Vidhan Bhavan, KalaNagar in Bandra, Bombay High Court and other prominent public places in the city and suburbs.
The Maharashtra Information Technology Corporation (MITC) has collaborated with US-based companies like Hewlett Packard and Fortinet for the technical aspects. The Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Litd is the bandwidth provider and Larsen & Toubro is the systems integrator. Prior to this, Mumbai entered the public WiFi era with hotspots at certain important railway stations for commuters, while some private locations like malls, cinemas, restaurants, hotels offered limited free WiFi access to their patrons.
The latest move by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena combine comes as Mumbai and nine major civic bodies, plus 26 Zilla Parishads prepare to go for elections next month, the dates of which are due to be announced shortly.