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Telcos to submit plan for 10 lakh public Wi-Fi hotspots by Monday

BusinessToday.In     September 7, 2018

Public Wi-Fi has been in the works for quite some time now and a new plan for the same will be out early next week. Telecom operators will hand over their model for the rollout of 10 lakh public Wi-Fi hotspots by Monday. The operators had rejected come up with a plan of their own for public Wi-Fi after turning down the one suggest by telecom watchdog TRAI.

"Today telecom operators have given a presentation on technical architecture for public Wi-Fi model. They will submit the rollout model for 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots by Monday. They will roll out pilots after DoT accepts it," Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan was quoted as saying in a PTI report.

The telecom operators had disagreed to the model recommended by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on grounds that it will have adverse effects on the debt-ridden industry and might even compromise national security. The Department of Telecom has been trying to find middle ground with the operators over the rollout of public Wi-Fi services since then.

After receiving the technical architecture for the project, Sundararajan said that the DoT will examine the model, security requirements etc before approving the operators' version on public Wi-Fi services. A senior representative of a telecom operator, who did not wish to be identified, said that if DoT approves their model then 10 lakh Wi-Fi hotspots can be rolled out within a year, the PTI report said.

Based on existing rules for cyber cafes, TRAI had recommended that a new set of players, which will be called Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA), should be allowed to resell internet services via the now obsolete PCOs and similar establishments that will be called Public Data Offices. But, telecom operators had unanimously opposed the TRAI model which was also approved by the Telecom Commission.

In response, industry body COAI had argued that Internet services can be provided by a telecom licence holders only and the scope of PDOA recommended by TRAI is similar to that of internet service provider license holder.

It had outlined that a licence is required even if the Internet services are provided to end customers using de-licensed spectrum band, however, no such condition has been imposed on unlicensed entities, who will make use of de-licensed bands of commercial purposes.

Edited By Vivek Punj with PTI inputs

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