Reliance Jio is upping the game in its drive to change the telecom industry. Soon after announcing free JioPhone, the company is now planning its next big step which is to provide free Wi-Fi to college students. If and when this proposal which is still in pipeline comes to fruition, an estimate of nearly three crore students would benefit from it.
According to a report by Hindustan Times, Reliance Jio has submitted a proposal to the HRD Ministry last month stating its intention of doling out free Wi-Fi to college students across the country. Such an initiative is surely the first of its kind in the Indian telecom market, and the proposal is still under consideration by the Ministry. The primary concern that the HRD Ministry seems to have is how the other network providers might react to it and also if they should get a fair chance in the offer.
Although Reliance Jio is not asking for funds from the Ministry, it would take a considerable amount of time for the whole process to be transparent while also considering the impact it will have on the other telecom companies. The government will apparently discuss the issue with other network providers before it arrives at a final decision.
Although Reliance Jio has come forth with such a proposal first, the Government of India in collaboration with the HRD Ministry was already planning to implement a similar move itself in the coming months.
This initiative will not only provide Wi-Fi connectivity to Central universities but also 38,000 overall universities that are currently being considered to be a part of the free Wi-Fi scheme. Reliance Jio claims that the main idea behind this move is to bolster not only the usage of online education material but also virtual internship – which will become more easily accessible with a good network.
If everything goes without a hitch, this free Wi-Fi scheme by Reliance Jio will most likely take off by the end of next month. “Through this free access to Wi-Fi, all students will be able to get an internet connection and use educational resources such as online courses available on SWAYAM platform through the National Knowledge Network. The company plans to create hotspots for this,” a source said to the publication.
Reliance Jio made a presentation before the Ministry last month in regards to its plan. “Though they (Reliance) are not charging us any money for this project, we can’t approve it without giving a fair chance to others. A tender will be floated so that it is a fair and transparent process,” the source further added.