Karnataka is looking to provide Wi-Fi connectivity to all villages through a public private initiative that involves village entrepreneurs to offer internet-based services to locals.
The state rolled out a pilot in 11 panchayat headquarters to test the concept before expanding across the state. This would help village-level entrepreneurs get access to the online marketplace and explore markets for their products and services.
The initiative will be implemented jointly by BSNL and Karnataka State Electronics Development Corporation (KEONICS).
Priyank Kharge, state information technology (IT), bio-technology (BT) and tourism minister, said the speed of internet would be faster than 1 mbps and all the 6000-odd Panchayat headquarters will have free Wi-Fi by March next year.
The state IT department has completed the testing process, which had begun two-and-a-half months ago, and internet service would be available with immediate effect.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the availability of optic fibre network laid out by the Union Government would be crucial to ensure internet in the Panchayats.