A new change or election stunt?

ByProma Chakraborty

Dec 9, 2019

The Delhi government’s announcement of providing 15GB free data through Wi-Fi hotspots across the city is a welcoming news. But the question of its performance seems doubtful

With private telecom operators increasing tariffs by almost 40 %, the Delhi government’s announcement on December 4 providing 15GB free data through Wi-Fi hotspots across the city is a welcoming news.

With a total of 11,000 hotspots – 4,000 are to be set up at bus stops and 7,000 others will be located in markets, residential welfare associations and other places in the city. Each user is entitled to get free 15GB data per month with a limit of 1.5GB per day.  The hotspots can provide internet services within a 100-metre radius, and may be availed by 50 to 200 users at the same time. On an average the speed will be between 100 to 150 mbps, and the maximum can go up 200mbps.

While all of this sounds highly promising, the question of its performance seems doubtful.

The few Wi-Fi services that are right now available across the city has very little to offer. The public at large refrain from using the services or are unable to do so.

For instance, the Wi-Fi at Connaught Place provided by NDMC lags behind in both speed and connectivity. Even if you are lucky enough to get the connection, the speed for even surfing the net let alone downloading forces you to go back to your personal mobile data. Even the speed of downloads and uploads varies during daytime and night.

The situation is equally poor if not worse with the Wi-Fi services provided by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. It’s nearly impossible to get the connection and if you manage to get connected the speed is dismal to the extent that even a WhatsApp message is not delivered.

Even though the wi-fi connection at the airport runs pretty smooth, however it lasts only for 45 minutes.

In terms of simply surfing, 1.5 GB is more than sufficient, however in terms of downloading — perhaps it is not enough. With the increasing use of TikTok, Instagram and other social media platforms, enjoying a speed of even 50mbps seems like a farfetched dream.

Adding to this, the cyber security concerns also remains. Cyber security experts have shared their fears since most of the public Wi-fi systems are unencrypted. The government has to keep a full -proof regulatory mechanism in place before roiling out the facilities.

With the overall dissatisfactory service across the city at present, let’s hope that the Kejriwal government’s promise brings in a change and is not just another election stunt.