In the ever-evolving landscape of the digital age, access to the internet has become synonymous with access to opportunities. Recognizing this, Sri Lanka embarked on a transformative journey in January 2016 with the inception of the Public Wi-Fi Project, a visionary initiative aimed at connecting its citizens, fostering digital inclusion, and fueling economic development. However, despite the initial vision and efforts, this project was later canceled
The project aimed to bridge the digital divide in Sri Lanka, enabling many citizens to access the internet for education, employment, and healthcare. The Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) partnered with internet service providers like Sri Lanka Telecom, Dialog, Mobitel, Lankacom, Lanka Bell, and Etisalat to provide free internet access, focusing on rural communities, unemployed individuals, youth, women, and marginalized populations.
The overarching objective of the Public Wi-Fi project was to accelerate digital inclusion in Sri Lanka. By granting citizens access to vital information, services, and opportunities, the project aimed to bridge the digital gap and contribute to a more equitable and prosperous society.
The Public Wi-Fi Project scope was to establish over 1,000 Wi-Fi locations across the country, including state universities, railway stations, hospitals, public parks, libraries, museums, and government offices. The project also developed a Common Core User Authentication System for secure access and integrated with Telco systems for reliability. Public Wi-Fi signboards were installed to inform citizens about free Internet services, promoting digital inclusion and economic development.
The impact of the Public Wi-Fi project has been substantial and far-reaching. With over 1,400 locations established across Sri Lanka, including state universities, railway stations, bus stands, hospitals, public parks, libraries, museums, and government offices, it has created a network of connectivity that touches the lives of hundreds of thousands of citizens.