The Government of India is planning to facilitate free WiFi services to over 1000 villages across the country under its initiative named as “Digital Village”.
According to a CNN report, the project will be implemented in the coming six months; wherein each village will have their own WiFi hotspot installed on a special tower. The residents can then access the internet with their WiFi enabled devices.
This scheme will cost around $62 million, and moreover, it is only the initial phase of the Digital Village plan. The government will soon cover more rural areas in the future.
Aruna Sundararajan, an official at the Ministry of Electronics and IT, has stated that this proposal will enable people in villages to access various digital services. These include basic internet access, medical services, and interactive education.
This scheme comes in response to PM Modi’s move for cashless economy throughout the nation.
A few years back Facebook tried a similar plan to make the internet accessible in rural parts of the country with their internet.org. The company had partnered with Reliance Communications to provide free access to websites affiliated to internet.org for Reliance customers via mobile data.
However, the scheme was banned by TRAI after it was thought to violate net neutrality.
Currently, many firms are providing free internet access in the urban sectors of the country. Additionally, Google is offering free internet, in partnership with RailTel, by installing free WiFi services at over 100 railway stations across India.
There are already few pilot projects running under the Digital Village scheme, with Akodara village in the state of Gujarat adopting it first.
This project was sponsored by ICICI Bank and was launched in January 2016 by PM Narendra Modi and ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochar.
The initial motive of the scheme was to make the village payments cashless by adopting digital technology.
The village has a population of over 1,100 people with 250 households.
Currently, all transactions in the Akodara community are either via net-banking, card payment or SMS based. It hence became famous in news media recently, after it was deemed as of the few sections of the country which was not affected by PM Narendra Modi’s demonetization drive.
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Kshitij runs The Patil Post and Zetabyte Solutions Pvt. Ltd. - a web development company focussed on E-Commerce implementations. Loves to eat, sell, write and talk. He is an avid reader, an enthusiastic traveller and trekker at heart.
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