BSNL and MTNL will provide Wi-Fi facilities at 100 tourist destinations across the country with the Union Tourism Ministry inking agreements with the state-run telecom service providers to this effect. A total of 100 tourist places, including world heritage sites, will be identified where the service will be provided within the next six months, Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi said. BSNL and MTNL will provide the service for seven years with the Tourism Ministry bearing the operational cost for the first three years, he added. Also Read - Jio maintains lead in 4G download speed, Vi in upload in May: TRAI
Zutshi, however, said a call was yet to be taken on the charges for using Wi-Fi, which are expected to be free for the first few minutes. The ministry has already started providing Wi-Fi services at 30 tourist places, including Trimula temple in Andhra Pradesh, Bodh Gaya in Bihar, Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh), the ghats of Varanasi, Fatehpur Sikri and Taj Mahal (Uttar Pradesh). Zutshi said another 70 locations would be added to the list over the next six months, taking the tally to 100. Also Read - BSNL launches a new cheap Rs 499 broadband plan to take on Airtel Xtreme, JioFiber
The initiative will enable tourists to upload photos and videos on the social media in real time. Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma has repeatedly said the Centre has accorded top priority to tourism which reaps benefits such as earning foreign exchange, providing employment to the youth and empowering the women. Also Read - BSNL offers 100 minutes free calling with select plans to aid COVID-19, Cyclone Tauktae affected users
In another project with the government, back in August, BSNL completed the installation of 2,199 mobile towers in naxal- affected regions across 10 states in India with an aim to strengthen security mechanism to combat insurgency in those areas. The project was conceived by the Home Ministry along with Department of Telecom (DoT) to combat insurgency in the most-affected regions by the left wing extremists across ten states. It was first approved by the Cabinet in June 2013 after a maoist attack took place at Bastar, Chattisgarh in which 27 people, including senior Congress leaders, were killed. It was again sent for the Cabinet approval due to change in cost structure and was cleared in August 2014. The project was executed by BSNL with the help of domestic vendors Vihaan Networks Ltd (VNL) and HFCL.