Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) has installed free WiFi routers at nearly 250 points in Lahore.
PITB aims to bridge the digital divide with free internet connectivity and to provide people with real-time information. Free WiFi routers have been installed in about 250 locations including major areas like metro stations, educational institutions, railway and other public areas. Director Information Technology (IT) PITB Sajjad Ghani said,
“Users will be authenticated by their ID and mobile numbers, after which they will receive a code via SMS to connect to the internet. We will avoid data hogging by making the internet subscription time barred and are still deciding the exact duration of the subscription as well as which websites will be accessible through this Wi-Fi.
We will only keep time and location logs so we are able to check them in case of any terrorist activities. But browsing history and user data will not be saved or stored.”
Each hotspot has a screen which displays a total number of users connected, bandwidth and usage statistics. PITB, however, has banned video streaming and downloading in order to maintain a positive usage of these facilities.
The Express Tribune has reported that free public WiFi networks have also been installed in Multan and Rawalpindi. Sajjad Ghani said that project is under testing phase for now and will be formally launched in about two weeks. The authorities are also reportedly working on developing an Android application that will reveal the nearest available hotspot.
PTCL has won the tender of providing this service and each hotspot has 1 MB dedicated connectivity.
PITB Chairman Umar Saif said that this facility will also be launched in other cities.