Friday, 6 February 2015

India's First Wi-Fi City

Inauguration of the free WiFi at Park Street

"What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow."

I was incredibly privileged to be a part of history today. As part of Kolkata Bloggers, we were witness to the formal launch of the free 4G WiFi provided by Reliance Jio at Park Street - the first step towards making the City of Joy the very first WiFi enabled city in India. Mysore had tried and failed before. Bangalore has WiFi hotspots strewn across the city. But Kolkata aims to be the very first in the country where the whole city, including Salt Lake and rajarhat, would gain access to free wireless network.

Kolkata Bloggers was invited to be part of the event. Fourteen people represented the blogging community at Park Street today. I was privileged to be leading a team that comprised many new faces, but with bursting enthusiasm and talent. This was a momentous occassion for all bloggers - going digital is the way forward.

The ever-increasing list of reasons why one should blog saw another addition to the pack. Ten devices from members of Kolkata Bloggers were given WiFi access almost an hour and a half before it was released for the general public. In effect, we became the first ten people to use the WiFi network that would revolutionize Kolkata.

The first tweet by the Chief Minister using the Reliance Jio WiFi

The event was formally inaugurated by the honorable Mayor Shovan Chatterjee. He thanked Reliance Jio for providing the WiFi service. Subrata Mukherjee then took the stage and hailed the new age of digital Kolkata. Mr. Tarun Jhunjhunwala from Reliance spoke about giving 4G technology to the whole city. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee then took the stage, and tweeted for the first time using the Jio WiFi service, using the hashtag #WiFiKolkata. Then came Anupam Roy's musical performance, following by Sanjay Mitra's vote of thanks.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee speaks at the WiFi launch.

How to use the Reliance Jio WiFi at Park Street:

  1. Turn your WiFi "On" and search for available networks.
  2. You will see either "Jio" or "Jionet" as one of the signals available. Select it.
  3. A tab will open automatically, asking you to enter your phone number. This is a one-time authentication process. If the tab does not open automatically, it will appear as soon as you open any browser window.
  4. As soon as you submit your phone number, you will receive a text message with your six-digit password.
  5. Enter the password on the Jio tab, and tick the box agreeing to Terms and Conditions.
  6. You are now granted access to use the free WiFi. Do not close the Jio tab. Closing it would disconnect you immediately.
  7. Every time you use the WiFi, your password will be the same. So save it carefully.
For now, the WiFi connectivity is available only at Park Street. In 2 months, the West Bengal government aims to provide the whole city free connectivity. As of now, you can use the WiFi for an indefinite amount of time. 

This is unquestionably a very proud moment for every resident of India's first WiFi city. This is the first step towards making Kolkata a SmartCity. We hope that the availability of this wireless connection will boost live blogging, live tweeting and citizen journalism to whole new level. Let us, as residents of Kolkata, move towards a digital future with proper guidance and utilisation of resources.

Happy surfing! 

The Kolkata Bloggers team groupfie with Derek O'Brien.


  1. Helpful! (Y) Thanks for the post

    1. Glad you liked it. Please spread the word so that everyone gets to know about the process.

  2. Just a small (logical) update needed in the steps ...
    After entering your number, you need to accept the terms & conditions by clicking on the checkbox. Yesterday a lot of people missed this step and complained about not getting their Password over SMS!

  3. I did mention you have to "tick the box agreeing to Terms and Conditions." :)