100 Wi-Fi hotspots will come up in western and southern India with the assistance of Rs 5 crore per year in the form of sponsorship from Facebook to enhance the broadband coverage of BSNL in the country. BSNL is the leader in the wired broadband segment, while Bharti Airtel is the leader in wireless broadband in India.
“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,” said BSNL Chairman & MD Anupam Shrivastava.
Quad Zen, a partner of BSNL, will set up the hotspots. BSNL, a state-run telecom operator, has already set up 25 hotspots under the agreement.
Facebook is sponsoring the project and not taking any revenue share. Quad Zen will set up these hotspots and handle sales. There will be revenue share between BSNL and Quad Zen.
The agreement between Facebook and BSNL is for three years and it can be further extended for two more years.
BSNL has also received interest from Member of Parliaments for setting up wifi hotspots in villages which they have adopted under Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) to make it a model village by 2016.
“Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Najma Heptulla and Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan are sponsoring BSNL bandwidth for Wi-Fi hotspots in the villages that they have adopted under SAGY. BSNL approached MPs explaining this model under MPLAD scheme and over 50 MPs have responded positively to it,” Shrivastava said.
In addition to the sponsored Wi-Fi hotspots, BSNL is adding 2,500 Wi-Fi spots in partnership with Quad Zen and Trimax.
BSNL is extending optical fiber connectivity to these hotspots. Quad Zen will set up 2,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in the western and southern parts of the country and Trimax will set up 500 hotspots in North India.