BSNL to invest Rs6,000 crore to set up 40,000 Wi-Fi hotspots

State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) plans to set up 40,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the country in the next three years at an estimated cost of Rs6,000 crore, in order to provide seamless internet connectivity, union minister for communications Ravi Shankar Prasad said today.

Speaking at the launch of Wi-Fi Internet facility at the Taj Mahal complex, Prasad said, the tender for the project is likely to be floated by July and it will be completed by 2018.

''BSNL will set up 40,000 Wi-Fi hot spots across the country and the project is likely to be completed by 2018,'' the minister stated.

The plan is part of efforts revive the company, Prasad said on the sidelines of the launch of Wi-Fi at Taj Mahal.

Anupam Srivastava, chairman and managing director of BSNL, said the tender for the project was likely to be floated by July.

''Initially, we plan to set up the hotspots in public-private partnership mode. The investment made by private operators will be in addition to ours,'' he said.

The public sector company will set up another 2,500 Wi-Fi hotspots in 250 tourist and religious locations at a cost of Rs500 crore by next March. These include the Jaganath temple in Puri, Nasik (where Khumb Mela is held), Khajuraho, Fatehpur Sikri and Hampi.

At Taj Mahal, the company's Wi-Fi service will be free for 30 minutes during a 24-hour block three times a month, which visitors can utilise in multiple sessions. After the free usage, a subscriber can continue using the service by opting for subscription plans of Rs20 to Rs70 valid from 30 minutes to a day.