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Net profit: Govt mulls Wi-Fi service

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 20: Nearly 2.5 lakh Internet users will benefit as the state government is going to provide wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) service in the city.

Internet will be free for 10 or 20 minutes, and after that, users would be asked to pay either through debit or credit cards.

Initially, the project will be effective in five major Wi-Fi zones covering an area of 10sqkm. Subsequently, the entire city would be covered. The IT department is funding the project.

The ambitious project of the information and technology (IT) department will be executed through the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) and the details of execution will be ready within three months. The STPI will take 18 to 24 months to execute the project.

“The dream project has been on the priority list of the state government and the proposal to the STPI was sent through the chief minister’s office on August 4. The STPI experts will give us a term of reference on the work by the end of this month. Once it gets the nod, the STPI will prepare a detailed project report within three months,” IT minister Pranab Prakash Das told The Telegraph.

The STPI will give a preliminary report on feasibility, technologies available in the market, studies in smaller localities, proof of concept (POC) or how the system will work in real life situations, best practices adopted by others in the field of Wi-Fi service delivery and sustainability models.

Das said that initially, the government would request the STPI to take up five localities in the city to study local disadvantages, density of applicants and concurrent users (who hit the Internet simultaneously at a particular time) and barriers, if any.

“The POC study is vital, because it will determine the problems users may face. If the study is to be carried out at Chandrasekharpur, for example, the possible users (their numbers), simultaneous hits at certain times like declaration of examination results, obstructions by hills and uplands and high-rise structures, if any, will be taken into consideration,” said Aditya Mohapatra, an under secretary in the department.

An officer said operational costs would have to be taken into account. “We have enough funds, but the generation of the operational cost should also be discussed to make the system sustainable for a longer period once it is implemented,” he said.

However, sources said that while there would be adequate software provisions such as Firewall to ensure anti-hacking measures, checking authenticity of users and hassle-free and safe monetary transactions, content filtering options would be used to check use of pornographic sites.

“The protection would also help maintain the speed of the Internet as unwanted downloads not only block other users during the peak hours, but also slow down the network,” said Mohapatra.

Sujata Rath, a faculty member of a city-based management college, said: “The Wi-Fi service as proposed by the state government will benefit the students as well as the travellers, who want to use the Internet for a limited time.”

Director of the STPI, Bhubaneswar, Manas Panda said: “We received the proposal from the state government last week. As it is determined to execute the project, the required preliminary report will be submitted by the end of this month, so that the POC studies can be initiated.”

The Centre has spelt out the concept of smart cities for 100 cities across the country, including state capitals where the IT applications would be seamlessly integrated into various urban development projects and schemes.

“There is a likelihood that spending by the state government on this project might get reimbursed by the Centre through the smart city project,” said a senior IT official.