Pushing high-speed broadband connectivity to the nook and corners of the country, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approved WANI project. The project in the original essence aims to boost broadband internet connectivity across India through public WiFI services. The core part here is that there will be no licence, fee or registration for entities to start the public WiFi service.

Govt aims massive adoption/deployment of Public Wi-Fi across the country, which would then deliver stable and high-speed broadband internet service to the public. These would also help people leaving in areas where there is poor 4G coverage to access high-speed internet. Users would be able to access this public WiFi at a low-cost starting as low as Rs 2.

WANI India's public WiFi service

The cabinet has approved Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommendation (given back in 2017) of formulating a new category of public data office aggregators (PDOAs) to deliver public WiFi services without a licence.

Here, PDOAs work with local entrepreneurs who would then provide public data offices (PDOs) or physical stores/venues to install public WiFi. Then we have the app provider, who provides the interface and technology to allow users to register to the service and discover WANI compliant Wi-Fi hotspots in the nearby area. It will also provide all the required information to the users for accessing the internet service.

Features of WANI

  • PM-WANI or Public Wi-Fi Access Network Interface with eco-system operated by different players:
    • Public Data Office (PDO): They are entities who will establish, maintain, and operate only WANI compliant Wi-Fi Access Points and deliver broadband services to subscribers. These can be small entrepreneurs, shop owners who are looking for another way to increase their income.
    • Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA): it’s an aggregator of PDOs. They also perform functions relating to Authorisation and Accounting.
    • App Provider: It’s what you would be interfering with, an app on which you can register, discover WANI compliant Wi-Fi hotspots, and buy sachets for the connectivity.
    • Central Registry: As the name suggests, keeps all the details of App Providers, PDOAs, and PDOs. The Centre for Development of Telematics (CDOT), would the one who will be handling this.

There will be no licence, fee or registration for entities to start PDOs, PDOAs and App Providers. However, they would need to freely register themself with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) through online registration portal saralsanchar.gov.in. Registration will be granted within seven days of the application.

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