Since January 11, when the government started taking applications for setting up such networks, over 43,500 access points or hotspots have been deployed across the country, officials said.
The public Wi-Fi access network, christened as Prime Minister’s Wi-Fi access network interface (PM-WANI), which was announced by the government in December 2020 seems to be taking off. Since January 11, when the government started taking applications for setting up such networks, over 43,500 access points or hotspots have been deployed across the country, officials said.
The basic model is that under it small shop owners can become re-sellers by buying bulk data from licensed telecom operators and selling it to subscribers who do not have Wi-Fi access. Officials said that this kind of service is like a sachet model where people not having regular connections can buy data for limited time period as per their usage. Further, it can be useful in areas where connectivity of some licensed operator is weak.
As part of the framework, the public data offices (PDO) will establish, maintain and operate only WANI-compliant Wi-Fi access points and deliver broadband services to subscribers. The public data office aggregator (PDOA) will be an aggregator of PDOs and perform the functions relating to authorisation and accounting. The app provider will develop an app to register users and discover WANI compliant Wi-Fi hotspots in the nearby area and display the same within the app for accessing the internet service and there will be a central registry, which will maintain the details of app providers, PDOAs and PDOs. To begin with, the central registry will be maintained by C-DoT.
The department of telecommunications (DoT) feels that the number of hotspots deployed prove that there is a demand for such services, despite the country having 700 million wireless broadband users and having the lowest data tariffs in the world. Sources said that 8 public data office aggregators (PDOAs) have already been certified by C-DoT. Registrations for PDOAs stood at 70 and soon they will also be certified, after which they can start offering services. Companies need to submit technical compliance to get certified by C-DoT.
Officials said that there was a stagnation in setting up wi-fi hotspots for the past one year. Currently, there are about 5 lakh Wi-Fi hotspots in the country but the number was not increasing for the past one year but after the PM-WANI framework, new hotspots are being installed.