After Park Street, now Gariahat has also turned into a Wi-Fi-enabled zone, adding to the excitement over the free access system in the city.
Four more zones will be made free Wi-Fi zones for the public - the stretches South City to Lords crossing, from the Rashbehari crossing to Hazra crossing, from Calcutta Medical College to Barnaparichay Mall, and the areas around Lady Brabourne College, National Medical College and Don Bosco School. It takes a week to set up power connectivity with access points, so the systems are likely to be active by the end of April or the first week of May, say sources.
India's first Wi-Fi city
Last February, Park Street became the first zone in Kolkata to get free 4G-enabled Wi-Fi services, making the capital of West Bengal the first city in India to have such a free service. Now two more zones have been added — Gariahat-Golpark and the area around the 8B bus stand in Jadavpur. Sources in Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and Reliance Jio said they are extending the service to four more areas because of the increasing demand for data services.
Almost 5 lakh users have availed of the free Wi-Fi since it was rolled out at Park Street on February 5. Park Street has around 230 online Wi-Fi routers, allowing 9,200 people to connect to the network at a time.
First Wi-Fi metro city
Kolkata is to soon become the first Indian metro city to have 100% Wi-Fi connectivity on 4G speed; the roll-out is going to happen soon enough. Previously the services were launched on Park Street and its surrounding areas, such as Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road, Loudon Street, Russell Street and Little Russell Street.
Free Wi-Fi in Kolkata would cover all the 144 wards in the city, and would make the lives of its citizens completely networked, thereby making Kolkata smart, secure and simple.
Excitement at the Wi-Fi launch
As per reports, Reliance Jio has tested the speed, and found it to be a consistent 50 mbps. Reportedly, this Wi-Fi service across Kolkata would be unlimited and completely free for the whole year.
Enthusiastic crowd at the Park Street Wi-Fi launch
Reliance Jio is the only company in India which has pan-India broadband wireless access spectrum which can be used to provide 4G services anywhere in the country. It is investing close to Rs 3000 crore in West Bengal for enabling internet connectivity, and the free Wi-Fi in Kolkata is part of this exercise.
Thus, Kolkata now joins mega cities like Singapore and Taipei that provide city-wide Wi-Fi services for its citizens. Bloggers in Kolkata are using the free Wi-Fi service, and some have even shared their experiences.
At the Park Street launch of the Wi-Fi service