THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The ambitious project of the government to set up wi-fi hotspots across the state suffered a setback with only one telecom operator submitting bid. Though almost all major telecom operators had made enquiries, only Reliance Jio Infocomm has submitted the tender so far as the last date for submitting the tenders ended earlier this month. Hence, the IT department is planning to re-tender by relaxing the conditions.
"It seems many firms were not happy with the terms set by us. We are yet to decide on how to go ahead with the project at this juncture," said Mohammed Safirulla, director of Kerala State IT Mission, the nodal agency for implementing the IT projects of the state government.
As per the existing conditions, the selected private player will have to instal and maintain the wi-fi hotspots for at least five years. In the initial phase, the government plans to roll out wi-fi hotspots in one spot each in every city and two panachayats in all districts.
Free internet access will have to be provided to the public for a limited period of one hour daily. Access to government websites should be offered free of cost.
There will not be any fiscal burden on the government in the project. But the government would offer support facilities like permission to instal equipment on government buildings and electric posts.
Representatives of all major telecom operators like Reliance Communication, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Idea, Tata Docomo and Airtel had initially shown interest in the project and representatives of some of these firms even attended pre-bid meetings. However, only Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio Infocomm submitted the bid.
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