TRAI plans Nationwide WiFi hotspot network

TRAI, Telecom regulatory body of India, has invited businesses both small and big to become part of Pilot of what it calls PDO (Public Data Office), Network. PDO is essentially WiFi hotspot, but these will part of a wider network which will take care of authentication and payment, this will allow users to make single payment and authentication to use a network of WiFi hotspots.

Regulator has devised a framework under which these PDOs will operate, it is called WiFi Access Network Interface (WANI). This interface will allow business to easily setup public WiFi hotspots without bothering about setting up payment and authentication systems and allow users one click payment and authentication and usage of one or more hotspot in a single session.

TRAI wants prices to be available in small sachet of Rs 2 to Rs 20 per session, it also wants the Public Wi-Fi Hotspots to store community interest data locally, and allow access to it through negligible costs.

In this WiFi Hotspot Network three entities will be involved, first being Public Data Office Provider/Aggregator, it will provide one or more WiFi hotspots to the public on free or paid model, second will be App provider whose role will be to manage user’s KYC (mobile or Aadhaar) backed profile, allow all digital payment methods, and allow users to easily connect to hotspots. and Third and final part will be played by Hardware, software and service provider they will form the back end of the network.

TRAI will release WANI technology Architecture Document in next couple of days for the entities which wants to participate in the Pilot project.

TRAI has said “This Pilot aims to demonstrate that un-bundling of services reduces rework, speeds up development and hence is the most effective way to tackle this complex problem”.

It goes on to add “PDOs will be akin to the PCOs that connected all of India, even when tele-density was less than 7 telephones per 100 people. It is also suggested that the Public Wi-Fi Hotspots store community interest data locally, and allow access to it through negligible costs. Overall, these suggestions encourage the PDOs to become bustling centers of economic activity, where consumption of data for the average Indian becomes as common as consuming a cup of hot chai”.

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