Facebook is planning to establish more than 100 Wi-Fi zones in rural India in a collaboration with BSNL, India’s state run mobile operator. If this idea comes into reality, government’s Digital India initiative will receive good boost in the villages from western and southern India.
100 Wi-Fi spots are going cost around Rs.5 crores per year to the California based social networking giant. Anupam Shrivastava, BSNL Chairman and MD informed PTI, “Facebook has partnered with us to sponsor 100 Wi-Fi hotspots in villages across west and southern India. They will pay Rs. 5 lakh for BSNL bandwidth for each hotspot per annum.” Quad Zen has been chosen by the BSNL to implement this project.
The Facebook is only sponsoring the Wi-Fi hotspots. The construction of 25 hotspots has been already completed and the social networking company is not going derive any profit out of it. The sales and set up of hotspots will be exclusively handled by Quad Zen. The total revenue will be shared by BSNL and Quad Zen. Facebook’s spokesperson didn’t have any comments over this development. Three years contract have been signed by Facebook and BSNL, which may get extended for two more years.
Under Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana the Wi-Fi hotspots would be built in requested villages. It is a centrally sponsored scheme under which members of parliament adopt one village to be run as a model village. Central government ministers such as Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nitin Gadkari and Sumitra Mahajan, Lok Sabha speaker are already paying for the bandwidth used by Wi-Fi hotspots in their adopted villages.