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Wi-Fi march on 20km stretch

Patna, Feb. 16: Come March, the city is set to get a 20-km stretch of Wi-Fi zone.

The state information and technology department is working on a war footing to develop the zone stretching from National Institute of Technology on Ashok Rajpath in the east to Saguna Mor in the west, via Fraser Road and Dakbungalow roundabout. Wireless access points would be set up every 300m.

The Wi-Fi gear at the access points would comprise router and other supporting equipment. They would be mounted on the electric poles. Sources claimed that the North Bihar Power Distribution Company had agreed in principle to allow the installation of the Wi-Fi gears on electric poles.

The access points would be connected through a gigabit fibre network, which, in turn, would be connected to big data servers at the control room of Beltron (Bihar State Electronic Development Corporation Limited), an undertaking of the state information and technology department and the implementing agency of the ambitious project.

If things go according to the plan, the residents of Bangalore would envy the city’s Wi-Fi facility. The “Namma Wi-Fi” facility launched on January 25 in a few select places of Bangalore, including MG Road, CMH Road in Indira Nagar, bus terminuses in Shanti Nagar, Yesvantpur, and Koramangala, offers 30-minute of free Internet connectivity in every 24 hours to any single Wi-Fi-enabled device. Sources in the state IT department said the Wi-Fi facility would be initially offered 24x7 to each device in the city.

“Initially, we want to promote the use of the city Wi-Fi facility among residents. Hence, we shall be offering round-the-clock connectivity to every device registered with us. Some curtailment in data usage by each device might be done later, depending on the capacity utilisation of the server,” said Atul Sinha, the managing director of Beltron.

Steps are also being taken to ensure the highest level of Internet security and parental control in the upcoming city Wi-Fi project. “The idea behind the city Wi-Fi is to promote the use of educational information by residents, especially students. Low-cost computing devices have become very common these days and free Wi-Fi would allow people to access the vast information on the Internet without any payment. However, we have already blocked some websites having pornographic material. We would also be using highly secured firewall to ensure maximum security of the Wi-Fi network,” said Atul.

Residents willing to connect to the city Wi-Fi network would have to register themselves. Apart from authenticity proof for access, the Internet usage on each device would be closely monitored by Beltron.

The core committee of Bihar Information and Communication Technology (ICT) group mooted the idea of free city Wi-Fi. The facility would be available in areas around a hotel near Gandhi Maidan and Fraser Road on February 19 and 20 during the two-day national-level information and technology (IT) meet titled “e-Bihar — An emerging IT Destination”.

“We are trying to show a prototype of the upcoming city Wi-Fi around the hotel where the meet would be conducted. We are trying our level best to ensure that the demo Wi-Fi goes live by the inaugural session of the meet,” said Atul.

The two-day IT meet in the city is a part of the mandate of the ICT core committee to bring IT investments in Bihar. Around 20 MNCs working in IT and allied sectors are expected to participate in it and deliberate on the prospects of IT in Bihar.