Government Eyeing to Increase Public Wi-Fi Access in India by End of 2021

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The Indian government is working towards building 2 million Wi-Fi hotspots in the country by the end of 2021. Anshu Prakash, secretary of telecom department, said that the Prime Minister Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM Wani) initiative is all set to launch and registrations for it will start from the first week of January 2021. The initiative aims to boost the drive of the government’s ‘Digital India’ vision. Very soon, multiple new Wi-Fi hotspots around the country will be available for the users to connect with and browse the internet — more details on the story ahead.

Anyone Can Register For Becoming a PDOA

As per a report from ET Telecom, Prakash said that C-DoT, a technology part of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is working towards availing the ‘Wi-Fi Access Boxes’ to the concerned parties at half the market price.

The great thing is anyone can register as a Public Data Operator Aggregator (PDOA) once the service is live. To register, all a person needs to do is fill the form by going to the central registry portal. In case there is no response against the form within 7 days of submission, it will be deemed as approved.

So what will be the job of a PDOA? He/she will have to partner or collaborate with small businesses to install Wi-Fi access points so they can provide hotspots in the public areas and improve connectivity overall. These entrepreneurs will be recognised as Public Data Operators (PDOs).

There is no limitation for becoming a PDO. PDOs can be small business owners, grocery store owners, restaurant owners, etc. The best thing is that there is no registration or licence required for the same. One thing to note here is that PDOs will have to purchase their bandwidth from the telcos which they can resell to other users.

Prakash noted that the stakeholders of PM Wani initiative are currently in talks with ISPs and telcos so that the process can start as soon as possible. The PDOAs will give all the backend support to PDOs.

The C-DoT has developed a complete platform for PDOAs from where they can access applications for accounting, authorisations, payment gateways and more. Prakash said that any registered PDOA can take services from the C-DoT whenever they wish.

People who want to access public Wi-Fi will have to go and open the Wani app wherein they will see a list of available networks. They can choose from either of the networks based on their user experience ratings. To get the service, users will have to buy an internet voucher.

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