The age of over-the-top manifestos and disclaimers are a thing of the past. The citizens are more informed and involved in campaigns, and their voting decisions are not based on historical lineage any more. So when Aam Aadmi Party said that they would provide free Wi-Fi, they literally took them seriously. In what can be considered as a u-turn of sorts, Arvind Kejriwal’s party has revealed the terms and conditions of the free Wi-Fi promise, and Delhiites are not happy.
According to the party MLA Adarsh Shastri, the free Wi-Fi promise will be subjected to three conditions, as reported by a vernacular newspaper. Wi-Fi can be used only in public places, can only be used for thirty minutes, and cannot be used for private purposes like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp or even emails.
Dear Dilli… “Read offer document carefully… Terms & Conditions apply” .. and Adarsh Shastri ji ex-CEO of Apple?😆 pic.twitter.com/7McbXxazFq
— Pavan Jha (@p1j) February 13, 2015
This, understandably, caused massive outrage among the Delhi netizens who blasted AAP on Twitter for its false promises. To deploy Wi-Fi in the entire geography of Delhi is a huge logistical, technical and maintenance issue. To overcome this hurdle, a massive budget, apart from skill set, needs to be extradited for this purpose specifically. Evidently, AAP realized these obstacles, only when they saw them post elections.
AAP delivers free WiFi. pic.twitter.com/HtrTxDUCH6
— Barbarian Indian (@barbarindian) February 12, 2015
In a first step towards Free Wifi Delhi, everyone will be asked to remove the passwords of their broadband Wifi routers 😉
— Tinu Cherian Abraham (@tinucherian) February 12, 2015
Delhi folks will get free Wifi for 30 mins, and no Mail, Twitter, Facebook & Whatsapp. Basically, you can just check u-turns on Google Maps.
— Hardik Rajgor (@Hardism) February 12, 2015
Free Wifi for Delhi* —– Conditions Apply . . . . *hahahahaAAPtardshahahaa
— Champ-u-terology (@BolshoyBooze) February 12, 2015
AAP – Vote for us, we promise to give you FREE WiFi. *conditions apply on for 30 mins* (nobody read this) Delhi Trolled.
— TheBlackMagicWoman (@aanchalator) February 12, 2015
So much anger already about the #WiFi promise, one would think the powers-that-be were planning to move their Twitter troll sena to Delhi.
— Nigel Britto (@NigelBritto) February 12, 2015
Kejriwal: Wifi free denge poori delhi mein. Sisodia: Bahut kharcha ayega!!! Kejriwal :Wifi ka password kisi ko nai denge ji.
— Sameer V Baadkar (@SameerBaadkar) February 13, 2015
Mobile towers for Free WiFi in Delhi. Trails. pic.twitter.com/xv0bBo6SVa
— Pankaj Jangid (@Jangid) February 13, 2015
This is a classic case of ‘do not promise, if you cannot deliver’. If you read AAP’s manifesto, point 38 clearly elaborates on the free Wi-Fi promise, without mentioning these conditions.
38. Wi-Fi Delhi: We will make Wi-Fi freely available in public spaces across Delhi. Citywide Wi-Fi can help in bridging the digital divide. It will also provide an impetus to education, entrepreneurship, business, employment, and also tie in with women’s safety initiatives.
Apart from deployment hurdle, AAP will also face the weight of many telecom heavyweights if they decide to offer condition-free Wi-Fi. Over discussions of net neutrality, pressure from private telecom operators and their promise to the Delhi voters, AAP seems to be in a rather big fix. Their steps to overcome these hurdles, needless to say, will be monitored closely.