The Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has asked nearly 900 universities and 40,000 affiliated colleges to coordinate with approved telecom service providers (TSP) to have WiFi facilities on campuses by Independence Day, 2018.
The HRD Ministry has written to vice-chancellors and heads of all higher educational institutions in this regard.
“The creation of digital campus would require a large national effort involving both private and public players. Some telecom service providers have already evinced interest in participating in this effort.” reads the letter sent on January 15.
Each user will reportedly have a quota of data they can use for free after which they will have to pay the telecom service provider.
“It is expected that the facility is to be provided by telecom service and internet service providers at their own cost. There shall be no financial implications to the institution …” the letter further said.
Diving into the details of the proposed plan, the institution would have to provide space for laying fiber, installing switches and UPS.
The TSP, which would set up network equipment consisting of optical fiber, access switches, wireless access points and security equipment, should offer free data not be less than 1 GB for a month per student and faculty.
The data speed should not be less than 4 Mbps and WiFi services should be available at the hot spots selected by the institution. Each user should be allowed connections to a minimum of two devices like a laptop or smartphone concurrently.
The broadband network of the TSP should be interconnected to the National Knowledge Network (NKN) to access other e-learning resources.
The list for free wi-fi
Banaras Hindu University
Aligarh Muslim University
Jamia Milia Islamia University
Central University, Himachal
Central University, South Bihar
Central University, Jammu
After announcing free phones, Reliance Jio now wants to provide free Wi-Fi to three crore college students across the country.
According to sources in the government, the company has submitted a proposal in this regard to the human resource development (HRD) ministry.
Sources further said that the proposal is being examined by the ministry and a final decision is yet to be taken. However, officials said any such proposal will have to go through a transparent tender process.
Back in 2017, Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio had made a presentation before the ministry regarding its plans to deploy free Wi-Fi connectivity in close to 38,000 colleges (technical and non-technical).
As per media reports, the proposal is being examined by the ministry and a final decision is yet to be taken.
“Through this free access to Wi-Fi, all students will be able to get an internet connection and use educational resources such as online courses available on SWAYAM platform through the National Knowledge Network. The company plans to create hot spots for this,” a source said.
This is the first time the ministry has received a proposal of this kind from a telecom service provider. The government, therefore, wants to ensure other providers have a ‘fair chance’.
“Though they (Reliance) are not charging us any money for this project, we can’t approve it without giving a fair chance to others. A tender will be floated so that it is a fair and transparent process,” added the source.
Reliance Jio had last month made a presentation before the ministry regarding its plans
When contacted by HT, Jio’s representatives refused to comment on the issue.
Significantly, even the HRD ministry’s proposal to provide free Wi-Fi to central universities, which has been in the pipeline for quite some time, is also likely to take off this year.
HRD minister Prakash Javadekar had recently announced that 38 universities would be made Wi-Fi enabled by August 31 this year.