Malappuram is now all set to be India’s first municipality offering free Wi-Fi connectivity to its entire population. And, that is just a part of what is on offer. Free high-speed Wi-Fi internet connectivity will be available in its 33 sq km limits.
The service will be initially limited to the twin towns of Uphill and Downhill, and then expanded to cover the whole municipal area.As many as 17 high-power antennae have been erected along the 21-km roads within the municipal limits. The municipality has roped in RailTel Corporation of India to ensure high-speed connectivity to its 68,000 people.All infrastructure is now in place and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is expected to inaugurate the project, said Municipal chairman K.P. Mohammed Mustafa.
The initiative is funded by a State IT Department grant of Rs.50 lakh and another Rs.95 lakh the Municipality raised, to meet initial costs.
“The idea is to ensure ample speed even if 2,000 users log in at the same time,” said Mr. Mustafa.Technicians involved in the project said that an average speed of 200 mbps would be provided. All that users need to do is to register their mobile phones with the municipality to get passwords for accessing free Wi-Fi connectivity.
However, it will not be unfettered connectivity. “We will have some restrictions on certain websites offering free downloads of heavy content, like movies,” said Mr. Mustafa. Although it will be totally free, the municipality will monitor the usage. “The cyber world is a high-risk one and we need to keep tabs on usage,” he said.The Municipality will link the Wi-Fi project with schools, offering free education software covering the syllabi of the State and CBSE streams. Animated videos of lessons covering all subjects will be uploaded as part of the project.
Free school administration software too will be provided, by which the daily attendance of students will be marked online and alerts for absentees will be sent to the parents.
Using free Wi-Fi connectivity, the municipality will also link school buses within its limits, with the parents. The parents will get alerts whenever school busescarrying their children approach their locality.A survey is currently on to create electronic medical records (EMR) for the 68,000 people living in Malappuram municipality, involving Kudumbasreeworkers. This will generate a unique electronic identification number for each and create a central medical record pool that could be accessed from anywhere.Almost all hospitals, doctors and medical laboratories in the municipality have assured their support to the initiative. The Indian Medical Association too has displayed keen interest in the scheme. “The mobile phone of each individual in the municipality is going to have his medical record,” said the municipal Chairman.