Internet giant, Google has taken on the first city Wi-Fi contract, in an attempt to turn India into a Smart City. This deal is under the Smart Cities Mission started by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
The contract is worth Rs. 150 crore and comprises of operating expenditure, revenue sharing elements, and capital expenditure. Google will collaborate with companies such as Larsen & Toubro, IBM, and RailTel from Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited (PSCSCL).
PSCSCL is a Special Purpose Vehicle(SPV) that was registered in March 2016 comprising of 7 stakeholders and 15 directors. PSCSCL has been formed specifically for the smart city mission. Municipal Commissioner of Pune, Kunal Kumar said that the order for work was issued on January 6, 2017. About 15-20% revenue that would be made through the Wi-Fi network would be shared with the authority.
According to the contract, Google will help in monetizing the Wi-Fi network of the city and position a Google Station platform that would have a Wi-Fi management capability and emphasis on monetizing so as to make it self-sustaining. RailTel would provide the last-mile fiber connectivity according to the requirement to the Wi-Fi hotspots can be facilitated across more than 200 planned locations in the city. Kumar also said that the plan is to incorporate all the public places in one platform to combine Wi-Fi hotspots that would allow access with one-time authentication.
With the Google Station platform, the company is giving its Wi-Fi services even beyond the railway station to places where the people gather in big numbers such as cafes, malls, transit stations, and universities. Earlier it had disclosed that the company would sign a pact with network operators, big venues, and organizations, infrastructure companies, system integrators and fiber providers to provide Wi-Fi in the city.
Google is already working with Indian Railways and RailTel to provide high-speed Wi-Fi in more than 400 railway stations across the country. There are about 100 railways stations that have already been fortified with Wi-Fi hotspots. Alongside Wi-Fi, Google is also working with L&T and RailTel for Variable Message Displays (VMD) which will be used for conveying important information across 161 locations in the city.
Lead -Smart World and Communication Business of L&T, Srinivasan Ramamurthy said that the most important things that they were doing is Wi-Fi and also establishing the emergency public drop box, emergency call box, and environmental sensors. They are working with Google to put up advertisements and RailTel for connectivity. Google would help in monetizing through the advertisements. L&T is the master system integrator for the project and will help in integrating the whole thing.
Under the contract, IBM is offering its smart city resolutions which will function as the spine of Pune smart city. IBM will also assist L&T in setting up a Smart City Operation (SCOC) to assimilate all the applications and services in one platform. This will make it possible to house all the forthcoming requirements through the incorporation of different citizen-centric application. 49 applications will be integrated.
IBM and Google have yet to put forth their comments about the contract.