In a letter to the Vice Chancellors of universities and heads of colleges across the country, the Ministry of Human Resource Development urged the college managements to provide free Wi-Fi facility to students. The HRD Ministry has asked the college managements to contact the telecom service providers who are willing to provide internet services free of cost.
According to HRD Ministry, telecom service providers can provide wifi free of cost with some restrictions. They can set a cap on the data that will be provided without any cost involved. Students will have to pay the telecom service providers directly if they use internet services more than the prescribed free quota.
The HRD Ministry aims to provide Wi-Fi facility in 50,000 colleges across the country. The creation of digital campuses requires an extensive national effort involving both public and private players. A few telecom providers have expressed interest in participating in this initiative. According to sources, the Wi-Fi facility is expected to be provided by internet service and telecom service providers at their own cost. The institutes will not have any financial implications, clarified the HRD Ministry.
In 2017, Reliance Jio came forward to provide free Wi-Fi facility in over 38,000 colleges across the country. Department of Telecommunication (DoT), TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) and HRD Ministry have supported the proposal. So far, the initiative has not been materialised and will be implemented soon.
Recently, a few states also decided to provide internet services to college students at free or minimal cost.