Context: The Indian vision of Connectivity and digital empowerment of citizens can be realised through the large-scale implementation of PM-WANI scheme.
On the proposal of Department of Telecom (DoT) to proliferate broadband through public wi-fi networks cabinet approved the PM-WANI framework.
This framework takes forward the goal of National Digital Communications Policy, 2018 (NDCP) of creating a robust digital communications infrastructure.
The PM-WANI framework envisages provision of Broadband through Public Wi-Fi Hotspot providers. It will consist of elements such as Public Data Office (PDO), Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA), App Provider and Central Registry.
Objective of PM-WANI
- This framework aims to proliferate broadband access through public Wi-Fi networks, with a focus on creating a robust digital communications infrastructure in India.
- One of the primary objectives of PM-WANI is to simplify the process of providing public Wi-Fi services.
- The spread of public Wi-Fi broadband promises better internet service, especially in rural areas where BharatNet is setting up hotspots.
- Public Data Offices (PDOs)
- Last-mile public Wi-Fi providers, known as PDOs, do not require licenses or registration, and they are not obligated to pay fees to the DoT.
- This removes bureaucratic hurdles and encourages local shops and small establishments to become Wi-Fi providers.
- Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs)
- The entities that aggregate last-mile providers, known as PDOAs, only need to register, and no fees are charged for this registration.
- The process is streamlined, with registration typically completed within seven working days of receiving applications.
- App Providers
- The PM-WANI framework encourages the participation of App Providers who offer services for registering and authenticating users.
- These apps facilitate user access to public Wi-Fi hotspots and enhance the overall user experience.
- Central Registry
- Central Registry will maintain the details of App Providers, PDOAs, and PDOs.
- It is currently maintained by the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT).
- PM-WANI aims to provide ubiquitous digital connectivity across the country.
- By creating a network of interoperable public Wi-Fi hotspots (PDOs), it offers a last-mile distribution of broadband at affordable prices, making internet access accessible to even the remotest areas.
- The packages of Rs 5-10 for Wi-Fi access make Wi-Fi affordable, especially for low-income households and rural communities.
- This makes high-speed internet affordable, bridging the digital divide that has long persisted.
- Simplified Operations:
- PM-WANI eliminates the need for licenses or permits to operate public Wi-Fi hotspots.
- This simplifies the process for entrepreneurs and startups, promoting innovation and competition in the digital connectivity space.
- Open and Scalable Framework:
- Like the success of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in the financial sector, PM-WANI provides an open and scalable framework for internet distribution.
- This encourages the participation of various entities, including PDOs, PDOAs, and app providers, creating a dynamic ecosystem.
- Business Opportunities:
- The framework allows for the unbundling of internet distribution at the last mile, reducing the need for additional licensing fees.
- This opens business opportunities for aggregators, enabling them to play a crucial role in delivering affordable internet access.
- Local Entrepreneurship:
- PM-WANI nurtures the growth of local entrepreneurs, who can set up PDOs in small shops, local establishments, and even households.
- This empowers these entrepreneurs to augment their monthly earnings while promoting internet usage in their communities.
- Utilization of Existing Infrastructure:
- PM-WANI can make better use of existing infrastructure laid out by major companies like RailTel and GAIL, which is currently underutilized.
- It encourages Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Telcos to expand their reach to underserved areas by turning their end customers into retailers of internet services.
- Interoperability and Scalability:
- PM-WANI’s unique Indian approach to interoperability, openness, and scalability makes it well-suited to address the diverse connectivity needs of the country.
- It can grow organically and adapt to changing technology landscapes.
- Digital Empowerment:
- PM-WANI contributes to the digital empowerment of citizens by providing them with affordable and accessible internet access.
- This empowers individuals with the knowledge and opportunities that the digital world offers.