Built-up space and other infrastructure facilities available in the State in the establishments of the Software Technology Park of India (STPI), the software promotional agency of the Centre, will hereafter be thrown open to small and medium IT firms too.

The STPI will also provide internet connectivity to all Information Technology (IT) parks set up in Tier II and IIII cities in Andhra Pradesh.

STPI director-general Omkar Rai, with whom Information Technology & Communications Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah reviewed STPI activities in the State here on Wednesday, gave assurances to this effect and also agreed to comply with AP’s request to offer STPI space and infrastructural facilities at Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Vijayawada, Warangal and Tirupati to IT firms on lease for low rent irrespective of the rates prevailing in the market.

K. Venugopal, local STPI director, was present.

The Minister and Dr. Rai noted that 27,000 sq ft of built-up space was lying vacant at STPI facilities in Hyderabad, 4,000 sq ft at Warangal, 7,000 sq ft at Vijayawada, 12,000 sq ft at Tirupati. They felt that it was not good to keep the space vacant for want of high rent.

Mr. Lakshmaiah told reporters later that as a result of his discussions, the STPI authorities had agreed to allow setting up of animation and gaming incubation centres at Hyderabad from August.

Assurances were also extracted from Dr. Rai to earmark 10,000 sq ft of STPI space at Madhapur (Hyderabad) to train personnel for the government’s popular IT-enabled service Mee Seva.