Bengaluru, March 17: To boost the digital wave at rural level the Congress government in Karnataka set to provide free Wi-Fi facility in 2,500 Gram Panchayats. This initiative would help lift the digital wave and help boost it simultaneously for the State. Karnataka will be among the first to take up a Wi-Fi project at the Gram Panchayat level.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has set aside Rs. 50 Crores for the project through the viability gap funding method in his 2017-18 state budget.
Information Technology and Bio-Technology ITBT Minister Priyank Kharge said that "We have been testing WiFi at 11 gram panchayats in Mysuru, Gadag and Kalaburagi districts from November 2016. The response has been good and people are ready to accept it."
The project is being implemented by the state-run Keonics along with BSNL. "There is already a skeletal network due to the Bapuji Kendras and e-governance kiosks at the Gram Panchayats. We are enhancing that and we will complete the broadband facility for the 2,500 Gram Panchayats by April-end," Kharge outlined. There are also plans to provide Wi-Fi in schools and colleges nearby and even homes, if people want it.
"I think it is just a question of time as routers and broadband is getting cheaper," Nasscom executive council member Ravi Gururaj said. "Last-mile connectivity is a worthy goal to deliver as you can cover a whole village without a wire. It is most cost-effective and worth an experiment. Execution will need to be done well, but it is one of the more empowering projects they could do for Digital Karnataka," he said.