Punjab government recently inaugurated its new initiative “Punjab Wi-Fi” under the Digital Punjab program which aims to provide free internet access in 6 cities of the province.
Dr. Umar Saif, Chairman PITB revealed at the inauguration ceremony that Punjab Wi-Fi has the capacity to provide internet service to 160,000 users. To test the new facility provided by the provincial government, we embarked on a journey to use the free internet facility to see how it actually works.
We’ve already done a detailed article about how anyone can register themselves to access the free Wi-Fi but in this piece, we review some of the glitches that PITB should fix to better facilitate the people who are using this facility.
PITB has introduced a dedicated mobile application where the users can locate the nearest Wi-Fi hotspots but due to some error, it has not been working properly. While trying to find a Punjab Wi-Fi hotspot, the app was showing my exact location but it was highlighting hotspots which were quite far away from my location.
I was standing near Civil Secretariat Lower Mall, Lahore, and according to my location, the nearest Punjab Wi-Fi hotspot could be found at the Metro Bus station just around the corner. But the mobile app by PITB incorrectly showed that hotspots at Children’s Hospital and Ittefaq Metro Station were only 0.1 miles away from me, which is 0.160934 KM where actually its is around 12 KM away.
PITB previously clarified that the free Wi-Fi wouldn’t be accessible to people around a certain vicinity. The sign reading Punjab Wi-Fi Hotspot outside a building means that a person can get the Wi-Fi coverage in the public areas of that building like waiting areas of park, hospital, metro stations, railway stations etc.
The problem with this feature is that the only way to access the free internet facility is to be at a specific place and the signal strength of the broadband doesn’t cover the outskirts of a building. We hope in the next phase Punjab government might consider increasing the signal strength and number of hotspots in the city.
Slow Internet Speed
One of the biggest nuisances that we witnessed was the slow internet speed. While testing the Punjab Wi-Fi service, it took us 1.5-2 minutes on average to open the home screen of various websites, which is pretty slow.
For many, it might be an acceptable time but we suggest that PITB should address this issue so we can enjoy fast speed internet connectivity without any wait.
Undoubtedly, Punjab Wi-Fi is an excellent initiative towards digitizing Pakistan, but for enhancement and betterment of this facility, the provincial government needs to work on providing a better and quality experience to its users.