Internet connectivity is one of the basic necessities in today’s time. Public places like markets and shopping complexes are now providing free Wi-Fi to people in need. When it comes to Delhi, the capital city – Khan Market area shoots off first.
In comparison to India, many countries have had the facility of free Wi-Fi in public places much earlier. But still, India boasts that it has the world’s largest stretch of free Wi-Fi zone in Patna —20 kilometres stretch from NIT-Patna on Ashok Rajpath to Danapur.
Pune has had free Wi-Fi hotspots since 2005 but it hasn’t been able to emerge a success as the way it was planned. Bangalore launched five free Wi-Fi hotspots this year, claiming to be the first Indian city to avail free internet at public places. Even the Gujarat government has already implemented hotspot facilities in college campuses, universities and surroundings of shopping malls where people gather.
Free Wi-Fi in Khan Market is an ambitious project of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC). Telecom service providers, Airtel and Vodafone have been roped in to provide a 4G network in the area. Soon Connaught Place, the world’s eighth most expensive office area, will follow suit. Plans are to include the busy Karol Bagh Market on the lines of this project as well.
Like any other project with hurdles, the roll out of this project too has its own technical issues which have led to a delay in its implementation. So instead of launching in July, as supposed to be, it has been instigated only now. Security issues and objections from nearby offices in the area also added to the delay. But nevertheless, the project has been worth the wait. In places like Khan Market where people usually visit to enjoy the calming cafes and coffee shops, this facility is a boon as it will bring more footfalls.
Mumbai malls have had free Wi-Fi for quite a while now but Delhiites could stick only to restricted places and not public places. With the project to be carried in other markets of Delhi, more delight is on the way. More of free Wi-Fi spots should be endorsed as it promotes digitalisation; something that the Prime Minister has always emphasised for the development of India. We hope many cities would soon take up similar projects and in the days to come, all states should provide free internet connectivity. Maybe we can we also expect the system to get launched all over India.
It is difficult for human beings to resist the word “free”, so as much as we appreciate these Internet freebies, we are also concerned about its safety. For instance, how secure will be our accounts if we access emails or bank accounts from these Wi-Fi spots? Given that if someone is monitoring the internet content, they are likely to monitor our email and bank accounts as well.
Many a times, it is okay to accidentally hit “connect” on free public Wi-Fi, as we can never really connect to it due to the secured Wi-Fi settings. But there could also be chances that those having a negative intention would allow for the connection and put your data at risk. Possibilities like these should be taken seriously by the concerned authorities and give the public a safe surfing experience.
Next time you head to Khan Market, the following information might come to handy:
- Switch on your Wi-Fi mode and click on the link. Fill in details such as e-mail ID and mobile number. You will get a one-time password (OTP) which will allow you to connect to the Internet.
- For each day, the first 15-20 minutes will be free browsing. Once the free usage time is exhausted, you can recharge using scratch cards that is available at various shops in the area. Online recharge is soon to come up.
Valentina Telien Kom
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