BSNL all ready to offer public Wi-Fi hotspots and m-wallet

The Indian government is placing so much emphasis on its Digital India initiative, it’s no surprise that BSNL is busying itself with public Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile wallet services. The state-run network operator is said to be working on key NOFN (National Optical Fiber Network) ventures which include setting up Wi-Fi hotspots for the public.

Mobile wallet, or cashless payment facilities, and governance through mobile connectivity are also important matters at the moment. And although BSNL claims to be very deeply involved in the Digital India program, there were reports of its dragging its feet in terms of placing orders for components like ducts needed for laying optical fiber cable, only this month.

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The Department of Telecommunications or DoT is said to be putting pressure on all parties involved in the NOFN broadband project to ensure it’s ready by March 2016, on the insistence of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. The Economic Times says that BSNL is specifically going to deliver free Wi-Fi browsing for a limited time after which users will have to pay for more data.

The Varanasi Ganga Ghat should welcome one such Wi-Fi hotspot within two months, if all goes according to plan. BSNL’s Anupam Shrivastava had told PTI that the company’s banking project will offer m-wallet services as part of Jan Dhan Yojna. Then there will be m-governance options such as Digital Mandi and Kisan Seva, supported by the telecom operator too.

Also see: DoT wishes to unveil NOFN broadband project by March 2016

Let’s hope the whole heady mix of mobile governance solutions, NOFN cable work and mobile wallet services does not prove too much for BSNL to deal with. Because as Shrivastava puts it, the company’s ‘deep-rooted relations’ with government departments is good enough to get it projects.