By Zia Askari
While each city is unique in its own specific requirements for wireless broadband, so for the city of Tokyo, it can be a city-wide connectivity grid to exchange videos etc that can work, while for a city in US it can be a healthcare emergency response application or gaming services in the case of China. As far as New Delhi is concerned, it could be public safety that can initiate Municipal Wi-Fi adoption.
As it is seen in many global deployments, most of the early networks were developed by cities to support a single application and over time, citywide Wi-Fi can move ahead to support many different applications, such as intelligent parking, finding the right grocery store etc – some of the big use cases for Municipal Wi-Fi are given below.
This is quite relevant and most important in the case of New Delhi, where women safety is questioned on national television, every time a woman is raped or tortured. In such a scenario, Municipal Wi-Fi can ensure that women are connected to the network by the press of a single button and instill much needed confidence. Same network can also be used to drive connectivity of surveillance cameras and hence eyes on the ground for the lawmakers.
Digital Inclusion for Common Man
As the government initiates availability of wireless infrastructure is can provide low-cost or free Internet access and could be part of a program to make computers and Internet access available to disadvantaged families.
Wireless Internet access powered by Wi-Fi can drive education to the next level, this can also increase the demand for high quality educational content and we may have a ‘Khan Academy’ of our own in New Delhi. At the click of a bottom, students can know what programs are being run in which university and make informed decisions.
Boost to Tourism
Low-cost broadband Internet access can enable new age tourism especially for tourists coming from different countries, Wi-Fi connectivity can become an engine to deliver unique content around specific monuments and places of interest. This can simply make an area more attractive as a destination in the eyes of a tourist.
A municipal wireless network can allow government employees instant and anywhere access to important city records and databases for tax collectors, auditors, and building inspectors – driving new age of transparency in the overall government machinery.
Additionally, Municipal Wi-Fi can also enable next generation applications, such as automated meter reading for utilities and intelligent parking meters, or intelligent traffic networks. All this can enable better e-Governance activities and create a model scenario which can be followed by other cities or capitals in India.
There is no doubt that when it comes to driving digital enablement, municipal wireless networks can become big engines of growth and development for the common masses. However, the government also needs to tread carefully on a path which it can complete in a given time – and not make the Wi-Fi rollout – a five year plan.
Moving forward, as municipal wireless networks evolve, as seen in multiple geographies globally, such networks become multipurpose and support multiple sets of critical applications and create unique value proposition for the ‘Aam Aadmi’.
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