Govt to allow public office data aggregators to set up WiFi service sans licence

11 Dec 2020


The union cabinet has approved a proposal for setting up Public Wi-Fi Networks by Public Data Office Aggregators to provide public Wi-Fi service through Public Data Offices without levy of any license fee.

A meeting of the cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved the proposal of the Department of Telecom (DoT) for setting up of Public Wi-Fi Networks by Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs) to provide public Wi-Fi service through Public Data Offices (PDOs) spread across length and breadth of the country. 
The move is aimed at accelerating proliferation of broadband internet services through Public Wi-Fi network in the country. There will be no licence fee for providing broadband internet through these public Wi-Fi networks.
This will help promote the growth of Public Wi-Fi Networks in the country and, in turn, improve proliferation of broadband internet, enhancement of income and employment and empowerment of people, says a cabinet release.
This Public Wi-Fi Access Network Interface, which will be known as PM-WANI.PM-WANI eco-system, will be operated by different players, which include:
  • Public Data Office (PDO), which will establish, maintain, and operate only WANI compliant Wi-Fi Access Points and deliver broadband services to subscribers;
  • Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs) who will be an aggregator of PDOs and perform the functions relating to authorization and accounting; 
  • ·App Provider, who 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
  • Central Registry that will maintain the details of App Providers, PDOAs, and PDOs. To begin with, the Central Registry will be maintained by C-DoT.
While no registration would be required for PDOs, PDOAs and App Providers will get themselves registered with DoT through online registration portal (SARALSANCHAR; of DoT, without paying any registration fee. Registration shall be granted within 7 days of the application.
This is expected to be more business friendly and in line with efforts for ease of doing business.COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated delivery of stable and high speed broadband internet (data) services to an increasingly large number of subscribers in the country, including areas which do not have 4G mobile coverage. This can be achieved by deployment of Public Wi-Fi.
Further, the proliferation of public Wi-Fi will not only create employment but also enhance disposable incomes in the hands of small and medium entrepreneurs and boost the GDP of the country.
Proliferation of Broadband Services through public Wi-Fi is a step towards digital India and consequential benefit thereon.
No License Fee for providing broadband internet services using public Wi-Fi Hotspots will massively encourage its proliferation and penetration across the length and breadth of the country. Availability and use of Broadband will enhance incomes, employment, quality of life, ease of doing business etc.

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