DoT plans functional 10,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots in tier 2 and 3 cities by July

DoT

To offer cheap Internet connectivity to people in tier-2 and 3 cities, the Department of Telecom (DoT) will launch its Public Open Wi-Fi project with 10000 Wi-Fi hotspots from next month.

According to Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan the govt will first launch the project and refine it as it will progress.

“We expect to launch 10,000 WiFi hotspots when we launch it next month, and scale up to a 1,00,000 in the first three months,” Sundararajan was quoted as saying by ET report.

Earlier, public open Wi-Fi pilot was conducted around 603 access points and got positive feedback from persons. TRAI report highlighted that data usage in public WiFi pilots was highest on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

At present, WiFi or other forms of Internet usages are minuscule in comparison to mobile network data usage. The project primarily aims to increase the rapid use of Wi-Fi by offering cheap internet connectivity to people in tier-2 and tier-3 towns.

The project also promises to create more entrepreneurs. It will support people who set up paid public Wi-Fi access point. Besides, they will have an optional business opportunity in content creation and selling Internet packs, added Sundararajan.

Entrackr had earlier reported that TRAI plans to develop a framework similar to the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to aid the rollout of public wifi hotspots.

Launched in 2016, UPI powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile app (of any participating bank), merging several banking features, seamless fund routing, and merchant payments.

DoT had accorded permission for resale of data by “public data offices” (PDOs) for the purpose of conducting the pilot project. About eight firms were part of the pilot project and had set up access points at various locations.

Meanwhile, the concept of delivery of WiFi revolves around a system called Public Data Office Providers (PDOs), which is similar to the PCOs that connected all of India, even when tele-density was less than 7 telephones per 100 people. The project is expected to encourage small businesses to become PDOs via simple registration.

Even Kirana store can install PDO router and serve the young students or professionals at an affordable price.

Through the project, government aims to provide broadband access to every Indian by 2022. So that people can access the development and means of livelihood, said Telecom Secretary.

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