Monday, June 1, 2015

Go Wi-Fi in Taj Mahal from June 16

Good news for tourists visiting the Taj Mahal. They will be able to access free Wi-Fi services on the premises of the monument of love starting June 16.About 21 Wi-Fi hotspots are being installed inside the Taj by state-run telecom firm Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) in partnership with a firm, according to a senior official from the department of telecommunications (DoT). Through Wi-Fi, mobile phone users will be able to access high speed internet on their mobile phones.However, the services will be free for the first 30 minutes, subsequently which tourists will have to buy vouchers.According to estimates, around seven to eight million tourists visit the Taj Mahal every year which include about one million foreign tourists.It is one of the seven wonders of the world apart from an UNESCO world heritage site.This is part of the Union government's plan to provide free Wi-Fi access across 25 tourist/heritage sites across India. The government has identified 25 archeological sites including Humayun's Tomb, Red Fort, Qutub Complex in Delhi, Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Sravasti and Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh, Leh Palace in Jammu and Kashmir, Konark Temple in Odisha, Khajuraho and Mandu in Madhya Pradesh.The minister for communications and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad had recently inaugurated Wi-Fi services in the ghats of Varanasi along the river Ganga. In the ghats, the Wi-Fi facility would be available to users at Rs 70 for the entire day, Rs 50 for two hours, Rs 30 for one hour and Rs 20 for 30 minutes.BSNL has already set up 100 Wi-Fi hotspots across 18 locations and aims to have 2,500 such spots across 200 locations by the end of March 2016.The state-run PSU is going for opex sharing model for setting Wi-Fi hotspots. It has divided the country into four regions and has already identified the partner for North and South regions while for East and West region, expression of interest is being floated, according to a BSNL official.BSNL is focusing aggressively on providing data services going forward and banking on its 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi services to capture a big market share and come back to profits. It is investing Rs 39,000 crore in the next five years, out of which a major chunk will be invested on data segment.BSNL, which doesn't have 4G spectrum, plans to offer Wi-Fi services through two routes: First, through Wi-Fi (it plans to integrate its Wi-Fi to 2G and 3G networks and act as a 4G hotpsot for mobile subscribers) and second, through partnerships with private telecom players, according to the company official quoted above while it aims to roll out 4G services by next year.

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