BREAKING: Citizens in three cities in Punjab province of Pakistan – Lahore, Multan and Islamabad-Rawalpindi – will get 192 free public WiFi hotspots in November.
The project will be launched in November by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the service will be available to citizens in these three cities later in the month.
Free WiFi hotspots will be available at public places such as airports, railway stations, parks, government universities and colleges, government hospitals and offices.
Metro may not allow free public WiFi hotspots because of security and other concerns.
Pakistan Internet users 2016
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
Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) is laying the infrastructure for provision of free WiFi and Cisco is providing the hardware.
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 last year by PITB.
Our two large projects for the citizens soon: free city WiFi (multan, Lahore, Pindi) and tablets for school students: http://t.co/gsoOTC8Y3z
— Umar Saif (@umarsaif) February 27, 2015
In order to access free public WiFi, you will be asked to register by mobile number or email address.
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.
At the same time, Patna recently boasted that its 20km free WiFi stretch is being used mostly for educational purposes.
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.
Last year, Karachi announced citywide free WiFi, but there are no signs of it being implemented yet.
More about Pakistan
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 stories on this blog?
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