College student's `uphill' struggle for net connectivity ends

Swapnali Sutar, a third-year Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) student, wrote an essay about her routine during lockdown as asked by her teacher.

Little did she know that it would prompt the Union government to ensure that she got uninterrupted internet at her home in Sindhudurg district, and save her the daily trouble of climbing a hill.

Talking to PTI over phone on Wednesday, Swapnali said since online classes began, patchy internet connection became a headache for her.

She had mobile internet connection, but at her home in village Dharishte in Kankavli tehsil, 480 km from Mumbai, it often got disconnected.

"I would get uninterrupted internet on a hill which is 1.5 km away from my house. So every day I trekked up the hill, carrying my laptop, to attend online lectures," she said.

"I wrote about this in my essay. I didn't know that it would get published in a newspaper," Swapnali added.

The essay got published in the Marathi daily `Prahar' and then news channels picked up the story.

"A day before Ganesh Chaturthi, officials of Bharatnet came to the village and said they had received orders from the Centre to ensure internet connectivity to me," she said.

BharatNet under the telecom ministry has been tasked with setting up an optical fiber network to provide internet connectivity to gram panchayats.

"They installed optical fibre cable in the gram panchayat and provided me a WiFi connection," she said.

The gram panchayat had internet facility, but it hadn't been activated, she said.

Swapnali said she moved to Mumbai after standard 12 to study at the Mumbai Veterinary College, but returned home when lockdown was imposed following the coronavirus outbreak.

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Free Press Journal