The PTI government has officially ended the free internet project in Punjab, including the provincial capital Lahore. The reason for the termination of free internet project is that it was incurring heavy annual losses to the provincial exchequer.
Government Terminates Free Internet Service in Punjab
Conclusively, for the past three years, the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) had been rendering free Wi-Fi service in public spaces for the masses to take benefit from it. However, according to a report, the free Wi-Fi project was incurring a huge loss to the government of nearly Rs 195 million each year. Consequently, it has a destabilizing effect on the provincial exchequer, due to which the service has been terminated.
The Free Internet Service was launched by the PML-N government back in 2017 when they were in power. The free Wi-Fi project led to the installation of more than 200 Wi-Fi hotspots in Lahore, Multan, and Rawalpindi. The Free Wi-Fi facility was rendered to public spaces which include railway and metro stations, airports, colleges, and universities.
The free Internet service has also been suspended once before but on a temporary basis. Back in early 2019, the government failed to pay dues to Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), which became a reason for its suspension. However, as a result of the immense public pressure, the government had no choice but to restore the free internet service as the termination of free Wi-Fi service was affecting a large number of students and common citizens.
Nevertheless, this time, the suspension of free Wi-Fi service appears to be permanent. The Internet facility has also been terminated for journalists in the Lahore Press Club.