The proliferation of public Wi-Fi hotspots in rural and urban areas will lead to increased employment for micro and small entrepreneurs in these regions by providing them with an additional source of income, said the Secretary of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), K Rajaraman.
Speaking at the 3rd WiFi India Virtual Summit 2022 on Saturday, hosted by the BroadBand India Forum, Rajaraman said telecom and internet service providers will also benefit from this sale of internet recharge vouchers to public data bureaus.
“Developments under the program have been steady with already more than 56,000 access points deployed. There is still room to further develop the WiFi ecosystem in the country. Based on a conservative estimate of each hotspot enabling 2-3 direct and indirect employment opportunities, creating 10 million hotspots in line with the National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) target by 2022 would potentially generate 20-30 million small and medium scale employment opportunities. sectors,” he said.
In December 2020, the Cabinet of the Union had, in an effort to improve wireless internet connectivity across the country, approved the establishment of public WiFi networks nationwide.
Wi-Fi is provided through Public Data Offices (PDOs) for which no license, registration or other fees apply.
The program, called Prime Minister WiFi Access Network Interface (PM-WANI), provided for the establishment of PDOs and PDO aggregators that handle PDO authorization and accounting. The idea of an AOP was first floated by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in 2017.
Six months later, he set up the initial pilot project for PDO, in which companies such as Facebook and the government’s C-DOT had participated. Like a PCO, the PDO allows users to connect to a public WiFi system for a limited session depending on the Internet package chosen by the user.
These Internet plans can be billed by the minute or by the hour by the PDOs. In 2018, when Trai launched the test model, he suggested that users should be able to purchase packet-sized internet packages ranging between Rs 2 and Rs 20, which can be used at any time.