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Karnataka govt. initiates measures to boost IT in state

Bangalore to be fully wifi-enabled in 1 year; Karnataka govt.-Nasscom to set up 5,000 sq ft startup warehouse

Itika Sharma Punit  |  Bangalore 

In an attempt to boost Bangalore's status as the information (IT) hub of India, the Karnataka government on Tuesday announced a slew of measures, including a plan to make Bangalore the country's first fully-wifi covered city.

The project, which is likely to be completed within a year, is an extension of an initiative that was launched earlier and has covered a handful of places in Bangalore.

The Karnataka government has issued expression of interest (EoI) calling companies to deploy wifi in Bangalore, and six companies have shown interest so far.

"Six companies have responded to our EoI and their evaluation is under process. Thereafter, Request for Proposal (RFP) would be floated for selection of a service provider," says Srivatsa Krishna, secretary for IT, Biotechnology and Science & Technology, Karnataka. "This process is expected to be completed in about four to six months time. One year from now, Bangalore will be fully wifi-enabled."

So far, free public wifi has been provided at some commercial districts in the state including the MG Road and Brigade Road areas in Bangalore, and around 1,000 users per day have been recorded in these areas.

STARTUP WAREHOUSE

Karnataka government has extended its partnership with IT industry body Nasscom, under which a new 50,000 sq ft 'NextGen' start-up warehouse will be set up in Bangalore by November this year.

Last year, the state government and Nasscom had set up an around 8,000-sq-ft startup warehouse in Bangalore, which has so far incubated 28 startups, creating over 100 jobs and bringing about investments of $1 million.

The state government had invested Rs 1 crore in the existing warehouse, and Krishna said that the estimated investment in the new facility will be around Rs 4 crore to Rs 5 crore.

"In addition to our investment, Nasscom will be giving some token contribution," Krishna said. "Nasscom's role is to manage the programme and run the space for us. We are also in dialogue with three or four large private companies who have agreed to be co-sponsors of the accelerator. Details are still being worked out as few of them are still in pipeline," he added.

The new warehouse will either be an expansion of the current facility or will be set up at a new location. "We are in the process of finalising the location of this warehouse. It may be at the same location where the current warehouse is located, or may be at a new place," Krishna said.

"The warehouse will provide space, with internet, to startups at concessional rates of Rs 5-15 per sq ft. Some parts of the warehouse will also be given out rent-free."

The new warehouse will house India's first 'Hack-celerator', a combination of a hack-a-thon and an accelerator, an Internet of Things (IoT) lab, design center of excellence, and a mobile devices lab, among other things.

INITIATIVES RAIN...

* To develop Bangalore as the first city in India to have complete coverage of public wifi, part of which will be free and part with be charged

* To set up a 50,000 sq ft NextGen startup warehouse-cum India's first ever Hack-celerator and Internet of things Lab

* To set up 'New Age' incubators at few engineering colleges in tier-II and tier-III cities to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation.

* Signs MoU with National Skills Development Council for skill development programme relating to IT, ITeS and allied areas

* Signs MoU with Microsoft Corp to undertake skill development courses for free.

* In-principle approval from Department of Electronics and IT (DeitY) to set up brownfield ESDM clusters in Electronics City, Bangalore at estimated cost of Rs 80 crore

* In-principle approval for DeitY for brownfield ESDM cluster in Mysore

First Published: Tue, August 12 2014. 19:00 IST