Free internet or free Wi-Fi zone is the most sought after commodity for anyone who possesses a smartphone, tablet or a laptop. Although 3G and 4G packages are being offered by telcos who keep trying to make it as affordable as possible, people who are into online games, torrents, and videos find it hard to satisfy their hunger with a limited data cap on such networks.
Metro Wifi program could be the fuel for those data-hungry internet users who like to remain connected on the go. Under this new free Wi-Fi program, the Punjab government has partnered with Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) for providing free wifi hotspots to people in public places, mostly in the parks.
Punjab government, through its technology arm PITB, planned this initiative back in 2015 for giving people this facility for educational purpose. A year later, they have signed the execution level agreement with a vendor.
Lahore is the second largest city in Pakistan, and due to being the hub of humongous socio-economic activity in the province of Punjab, most of the internet traffic is generated from here.
Significant numbers of students are in the habit of using the internet in their universities and colleges where they have the hotspots, but little or no connectivity can be found on roads or public places. Although few cafes and malls offer a free Wi-Fi, such places also compel you to buy at least a cup of coffee so no free Wi-Fi there as well.
Places where Free Wi-Fi will be available
According to details, the free WiFi hotspots will be available to the public in some 115 public places of Lahore including 12 major parks, 117 markets, metro bus stations and 20 colleges and universities.
A few days ago, Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif approved free Wi-Fi hotspot facility under Metro Wi-Fi Program. Not only this, but he also gave the permission to the teachers of science subjects for class 6 to 10 to carry internet-enabled tablets with them.
Following places in Lahore have been approved for free Wi-Fi facility
- Bagh-e-Jinnah park
- Model Town Park
- Hazoori park
- Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park
- Mayo Hospital
- Children Hospital
- Services Hospital
- Shaikh Zayed Hospital
- Ganga Ram Hospital
- Punjab Assembly
- Zillah Kacheri
Possible advantages of free Wi-Fi Hotspots in the public places
The purpose of the Metro Wi-Fi Program is to promote education in the country. Most of the developed countries already provide free Wi-Fi hotspots in the public areas, so it could be a great initiative by our government.
The free Wi-Fi hotspots in the colleges and universities would allow students to get the information they are looking for instantly on their handhelds. Moreover, free eBooks could also be downloaded from the internet.
In hospitals, most of the time when a patient is diagnosed, he does not know anything about the details of his illness, the free Wi-Fi hotspots in hospitals would allow patients to get every single bit of the information on their disease almost instantly for free.
In markets, the shopkeepers often misguide the customer about the real price of a product, with free Wi-Fi hotspots in the market, people would be able to check the actual price of every product from the internet before purchasing anything.
In parks, children enjoy playing on the grounds, but most of the adults get bored in a short time. Free WiFi hotspots in parks would keep the adults engage in getting the latest news stories from the internet while their children enjoy playing.
After the first phase, the Free Wifi zones will be established in other cities of Punjab as well including Multan and Rawalpindi on the list.