Covering a distance of seven kilometres, the first metro line was inaugurated in Bengaluru in India today, marking the successful completion of a project that was kicked off in April 2007, The Economic Times reports.
Named “Namma Metro” (literally, “our metro”) in the regional language Kannada, it has the distinction of being the first city transportation system in the country that offers free WiFi access to passengers.
It is fitting that Bengaluru, the IT hub of India, should be the first city in the country to offer such a feature to its residents. Dubbed as the “Silicon Valley of India”, it is a melting pot for tech professionals from all over the country, homegrown technology startups and established titans of the industry and hundreds of multinational corporations.
The Namma Metro offers the city a way out of its burgeoning problem of traffic congestion and excessive air pollution, even though the current seven-mile stretch is not significant enough to solve them fully. The plans call for a rapid expansion of the metro network in the city, with the aim to cover 42.3 kilometres of the city by the year 2014. And it will all be WiFi-enabled, of course.
Free WiFi in prominent locations and public services has been remarkably scarce in India—with the only notable exception being the spectacular T3 Terminal at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. Hopefully, the introduction of free wireless access in more of these state-operated projects will spearhead the rise of more wireless hotspots all around the country.