Public wi-fi hotspot
Government plans to set up 2,500 wi-fi hotspots in 256 places by 2017, Picture: signboard of Minneapolis free wireless hotspot in USWikimedia commons

The government is planning to install 2,500 Wi-Fi hotspots at 256 places by 2017, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said. It is believed the government is planning to reach 50 crore Internet subscriber mark in the next 6-7 months.

Union Information Technology and Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Sunday inaugurated free Wi-Fi at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), meant for the public. Speaking at the function, Prasad said state-owned BSNL plans to launch 2,500 Wi-Fi hotspots, Press Trust of India reported.

So far, only 500 hotspots have reportedly been provided in 200 places across the country.

"Today, mobile penetration is 100 crore, while Internet penetration is 40 crore. It has taken more than 3-4 years to reach the 30-crore mark. Since then, it took less than one year to reach 40 crore. I have fixed a target of 50 crore. God willing, we will cross 50 crore in the next 6-7 months," Prasad said.

The government had unveiled the "Digital India initiative" — which encompasses many projects to the tune of Rs 1 lakh crore — aimed at transforming the country into a digitally empowered one. The Wi-Fi project will support the digital India project, Press Trust of India added.

Prasad also stressed on the need for people to receive government benefits of the latest information and communication technology. He said: "Digital India will transform the country and is more for people like chaiwallas and paanwallas so that they can enhance their skills."