India Cabinet has approved the proposal for setting up public Wi-Fi networks for broadband services across the country.
TRAI’s latest report indicates that the number of broadband subscribers increased from 705.40 million in July 2020 to 716.19 million in August 2020.
Reliance Jio is the #1 broadband operator with 403.92 million subscribers in India. The second leading mobile operator Bharti Airtel has 158.98 million broadband customers as compared with Vodafone Idea’s 119.91 million, BSNL’s 23.75 million and Atria Convergence’s 1.70 million.
This public Wi-Fi Access Network Interface will be known as PM-WANI. The cabinet said that the move is expected to be more business-friendly. The Covid-19 pandemic has necessitated the delivery of high-speed Broadband Internet services to subscribers in the country including areas that do not have 4G mobile coverage.
India government has not put any license fee for providing broadband internet services using public Wi-Fi hotspots.
The Public Data Office (PDO) will establish, maintain, and operate only WANI compliant Wi-Fi Access Points and deliver broadband services to subscribers.
Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA) will be an aggregator of PDOs and perform the functions relating to authorization 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.
Registration would not be required for PDOs. PDOAs and App Providers will get themselves registered with DoT through an online registration portal, without paying any registration fee. The government said that the registration shall be granted within 7 days of the application.
India government is also working on the BharatNet programme that aims to provide a minimum of 100 Mbit/s broadband connectivity to all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats covering nearly 6.25 lakh villages in the country.