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article imageIndian city of Varanasi inaugurates free Wi-Fi service

By Sravanth Verma     Feb 10, 2015 in Technology
Varanasi - Indian Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad inaugurated the free Wi-Fi service in the city of Varanasi on February 8, marking a first step to making the city a "smart city."
A further Rs. 100 crores ($17 million) have been allocated to develop Internet connectivity in the district. Prasad also announced that the state, Uttar Pradesh, would be getting its first IT park soon. "Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications and IT, inaugurated Wi-fi hotspot zone created by BSNL at Dashashwamedh Ghat & Shitala Ghats of Varanasi today," BSNL, the national telecom operator, said in a press release.
The Wi-Fi service currently only covers two of 84 "ghats" or river-front areas where several rituals are performed in this temple city. The service will be free for 30 minutes a day, usable in multiple sessions. Usage will then be billed at Rs 20, Rs 30, Rs 50 and Rs 70 ($1 is Rs 60) for validity of 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 120 minutes and one day. The service will soon be expanded to other ghats as well. The mobile network in the district will also be converted to an IP-based network with 64 additional 2G and 3G mobile sites coming up. Various villages will also be connected through an optical fiber network.
Varanasi is the constituency from which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi contested and won the 2014 elections. He has promised to convert Varanasi into a "smart city", one of 100 such across the country, which will become major hubs for technology and scientific endeavor and development.
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