The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the establishment of public Wi-Fi networks across the country. These would be provided through Public Data Offices (PDOs). This Central government's scheme is called the Prime Minister Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM-WANI) and is being seen as an attempt by the government to elevate wireless internet connectivity in the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the PM-WANI scheme "historic". He added it will completely revolutionise the tech sphere and will also substantially improve the wireless connectivity of the country. PM-WANI will boost the "ease of doing" business and also "ease of living", said PM Modi in a tweet.
Historic PM-WANI (Wi-Fi Access Network Interface) scheme that has been cleared by the Cabinet today will revolutionise the tech world and significantly improve WiFi availability across the length and breath of India. It will further 'Ease of Doing Business' and 'Ease of Living.'- Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 9, 2020
"The scheme would enable our small shopkeepers to provide Wi-Fi service. This will boost incomes as well as ensure our youth gets seamless internet connectivity. It will also strengthen our Digital India mission," said the Prime Minister in another tweet about PM-WANI.
The PM explained the benefits of the PM-WANI scheme, but how exactly will it work? Let us see
Public Data Offices (PDOs) will be established on the lines of Public Call Offices (PCOs). These PDOs will establish, operate, and maintain only the WANI compliant Wi-Fi access points to deliver broadband services to its subscribers.
These PDOs will either provide internet on their own or will lease from some other Internet Service Provider (ISP). PDO Aggregators (PDOAs) will also be set up. These will perform the function of authorisation and accounting of the numerous PDOs.
The government will develop an application which will register the users on to the network. The application will also help them discover WANI-compliant Wi-Fi hotspots in nearby areas
A central registry will be set-up which will maintain details of all app providers, PDOAs and PDOs. The registry will be handled by the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT).
A customer wanting to access the network from a PDO's premise can do so only after an eKYC authentication, according to The Economic Times. The eKYC authentication can be done through an app provider. All the customer would have to do is to download the app provider's app from an app store once they enter the PDO premise.
The Communications Ministry has stated that no license fee will be charged for providing broadband internet services. "Availability and use of broadband will enhance incomes, employment, quality of life, ease of doing business, etc." the ministry added.
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