26 April 2017: Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif inaugurates Punjab WiFi. Six cities – Multan, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Murree, Faisalabad and Bahawalpur – are connected through 200 WiFi hotspots. A total of 160,000 users will be able to access free public WiFi simultaneously.

Punjab Wifi covers major public places. Find locations on or the “Punjab Wifi” app on Android play store.

BREAKING: Citizens in three cities in Punjab province of Pakistan – Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi – will get 192 free public WiFi hotspots in February.

The project, currently in testing phase, will be launched by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif soon and the service will be available to citizens in these three cities later in the month.

In addition, Murree’s 2km-long Mall Road will get free internet through five WiFi hotspots.

These 192 hotspots will provide free wifi service to over 160,000 internet users for four hours a day.

Free WiFi hotspots will be available at public places such as airports, railway stations, parks, government universities and colleges, government hospitals and offices.

City-wise WiFi hotspots breakdown

Lahore: 115

Multan: 47

Rawalpindi: 30

In Lahore, some of these hotspots are installed at recreational facilities including Model Town Park and Jillani Park. WiFi will also be available at the Services and Jinnah hospitals, Alhamra Arts Council, the airport, railway station, all Metro stations and other popular spots.

Free public WiFi Internet hotspots in Lahore by Punjab government

Pakistan Internet users 2017

Pakistan 3G/4G subscribers: 34.3 million

Pakistan Broadband subscribers: 37 million

Pakistan mobile subscribers: 69.4% | 134.4 million

Source: PTA official figures. October 2016 in Only 14% Pakistanis use social media

Pakistan’s travel infrastructure

For Rs 20, take a Metro ride from Pindi to Islamabad

Lahore awaits its Orange Line Metro Train

Multan gets its Metro bus service

e-ticketing on Green Line train from Islamabad to Karachi

Karachi to get Green Line bus service by end-2017

Karachi may have Yellow Line bus service in 2 years

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) is laying the infrastructure for provision of free WiFi and Cisco is providing the hardware.

Each hotspot, with four to five access points to provide 100 to 500 meters of internet coverage, will serve 800-1,500 users.

Each hotspot, with 1 MB of dedicated connectivity, will have a screen display which reveals the total number of internet users connected, available bandwidth and data usage statistics.

This is a Digital Punjab project initiated by Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) and the service is likely to expand to other cities in the province soon.

The first announcement was made in February 2015 by PITB.

In order to access free public WiFi, you will be asked to register by mobile number, in addition to providing your name, date of birth and profession.

A registered user will be able to use free wifi for four hours a day – two hours in a go. For another two hours, the user will need to provide their mobile number. The four-hour time limit could increase later.

An Android app will be introduced revealing the nearest available hotspot.

What will people do online?

It will be interesting to see what people do online once connected to these free public WiFi hotspots.

In India recently, there were massive media complaints that free public WiFi is being used to visit adult sites, which are now being blocked. PITB is considering introducing stringent measures to curb the surfing of adult content.

At the same time, Patna recently boasted that its 20km free WiFi stretch is being used mostly for educational purposes.

8 security rules for public Wi-Fi users

When you think of free public WiFi, cities like New York City, Calgary, Toronto, Geneva, London, Moscow, Barcelona, Milan, Vienna, Seoul, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne come to your mind.

Pakistani cities are only catching up with the rest of the world to provide free public WiFi to its citizens.

In 2015, Karachi announced citywide free WiFi, but there are no signs of it being implemented yet.

More about Pakistan

Harvard predicts Pakistan GDP to grow by 5% over next 10 years

Pakistan is the world’s fastest-growing Muslim economy: The Economist

Pakistan GDP set to grow by 5.3% by 2020: IMF

Pakistan’s unprecedented successes in stock market

$10B TAPI natural gas pipeline to be operational in 2020

China-led SCO admits Pakistan as member in June

In a corruption-riddled world, Pakistan is better than one-third countries: TI

Pakistan petrol prices 18th lowest in the world

Pakistani passport ranked second worst for international travel

Pakistan 11th strongest military in the world

Pakistan ranks 11th worst in Global Hunger Index

Free public WiFi in India

In India this year, Google launched the largest public WiFi project in the world, aiming to set up free WiFi hotspots at 400 train stations. Nearly four million monthly users are already using service at 52 train stations across India.

Mumbai is being turned into a ‘WiFi City’ with 1,200 hotspots, under an ambitious smart city mega-project by 1 May 2017. 500 of these hotspots will be up by November.

Gurgaon (Gurugram) announced free public WiFi hotspots in the city in partnership with Airtel where you can get 30 minutes of free WiFi access.

Delhi and Bangalore were two of the first cities in India to get free free WiFi hotspots.

Ahmedabad in Gujarat has a number of WiFi hotspots. Jalandhar railway station is set to get free WiFi by 30 November. Noida in Uttar Pradesh, Kolkata in West Bengal, Pune in Maharashtra and Chennai in Tamil Nadu too have free WiFi hotspots.

In 2014, the Bihar government launched the world’s longest corridor of free WiFi connectivity – a 20km stretch of free WiFi zone between NIT-Patna on Ashok Rajpath to Danapur.

Around 100 Indian trains including Rajdhanis, Shatabdis and the Mumbai suburban service will have free WiFi by December. The Indian railways ministry is in the process of identifying other trains for this service.

Have you seen CPEC & OBOR stories on this blog?

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: A timeline

16 CPEC projects in Balochistan, 8 in KPK: Chinese Embassy

Chinese Embassy shares progress on CPEC projects

3 false reports about CPEC in one day far too many?

40 CPEC projects in 4 photos & 60 seconds

CPEC gets 4-layer security as Gwadar to be weapon-free

China’s world-reshaping One Belt, One Road (OBOR)

How China overtakes the US economy

Free public WiFi in UK

In London, UK telecom giant BT teams up with LinkUK to offer free speedy internet across London, along with charging ports, local maps and free landline and mobile phone calls. BT aims to provide 750 Links set up across central London and other major UK cities over the next few years.

Understanding Pakistan Series by Wali

What to expect in Pakistan in 2017

Back to the future: Pakistan in 2050

Wali on Pakistan of future

Long Term Orientation in Pakistan: from Zero to 50 in 2 years

Pakistani culture through 6-D Model

Native languages in Pakistan

How future oriented are we?

How we messed up Pakistan: A series by Wali

Pakistan’s two value crimes no one talks about

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