In an effort to liberate the connectivity sector in India, the Government of India has launched an initiative under the name PM – WANI or PM – WiFi Access Network Interface to set up public WiFi hotspots across India to enable pervasive connectivity,’ease of living’ and last mile connectivity.
The entire WiFi network would be set up by PDOAs (Public Data Office Aggregators), and PDOs (Public Data Offices). PDOs will be similar to PCOs (Public Call Office), where users can come around and access the internet based on a pay-per-use model. Users might be charged anywhere between Rupees 2 per 100 Megabytes of internet to Rupees 20 per 1 Gigabyte of internet, the validity of the voucher or ticket is said to be 24 hours.
The PDOs would onboard users through a Mobile Application. This application will be available for free download across all platforms. End users will download the mobile app and will use it for accessing PM-WANI enabled WiFi hotspot. All these entities, will be governed, or rather kept a check on, through a central registry which will be maintained by the Center for Development of Telematics, or CDoT.
Under this framework, PDOs in agreement with PDOAs, will be allowed to provide public Wi-Fi services. Anyone can setup WANI enabled WiFi hotspots without having to pay the government license fees. However, they would be subject to specific registration requirements (prescribed by the DoT) which will include obligations to ensure that e-KYC, authentication and record-keeping requirements (for customers, devices and PDOs enlisted with the PDOAs are fulfilled by the PDOAs.
The core entities in the framework would be:
PDO (Public Data Office): These units would be responsible for maintaining, managing and operating WANI – Compliant Access Points to deliver broadband internet services to everyday citizens.
PDOA (Public Data Office Aggregators): These units would be PDO aggregators and will manage authentication and authorization.
App Provider (Third Party): An application will be developed to help citizens find and connect to WANI Compliant access points all across India. The application will allow people to find nearby WANI-Compliant hotspots.
Central Registry: The central registry will be maintained by the Center for Development of Telematics or C DoT. The Central Registry will be responsible for maintaining the details of App Providers, PDOs and PDOAs.
While the official announcement of the PM – WANI initiative promises to make fast internet available all over India, the pilot exercises of implementing PM WANI had already begun around 2017-2018 in cities like Bangalore. Noting that the official announcement has come in 2020, the entire project is poised to be fully functional by 2023.
At Indio Networks, we have written and worked extensively in the space of Public WiFi Hotspots for over 15 years now. We know what it can enable for the economy and transform in terms of education, prosperity and the overall well-being of the people.
Here are a few excerpts from our own article regarding how public WiFi can help improve the economy:
“Administratively, smart cities, which is an effort under the Digital India initiative of the Government of India, relies heavily on the use of smart devices, smart lighting and much more. These smart devices can be powered by Public WiFi solutions that help these smart devices interact with each other to offer a smart approach to smart administration. Such an approach, in the long run, can help reduce the overhead costs of administration to a great extent because of improved effectiveness and co-ordinated functionality.
Public WiFi has the potential to penetrate and provide last-mile connectivity to every corner of the country. From MSME’s to local retailers to normal every day individuals on their way to work, all entities are eligible to gain from accessible and reliable Public WiFi hotspots.
In a rural environment, setting up Public WiFi can greatly aid the development of the people. There are three socio-economic factors that contribute to the health and well-being of people as we know— Employment, education and income. Insofar employment and income is concerned, it is largely influenced by education. The state of education in rural India has to improve, where there is a massive lack of good educators, that gap can very effectively be filled by E-Classrooms, E-Schools that use Public WiFi, where students can learn every day without having to worry about the quality of their education. These well educated students will be the demographic dividend that will pay off in the long term, contributing socially as well as economically on a huge scale.
Good, viable healthcare is lacking throughout rural India. If there are Public WiFi hotspots set up in rural areas, it can enable the rural populace to interact with healthcare workers and doctors to work on resolving health related issues easily. It can also help doctors and patients to keep track of their health on a regular basis, without the hassle of having to travel long distances.”
Public WiFi has the ability to achieve last-mile, rural connectivity. This development essentially brings telemedicine to villages with ease. Access to better healthcare advice from doctors situated in Urban areas essentially implies the development of better quality of life. It will also improve average life expectancy.
At Indio, we have deployed Public WiFi solutions at thousands of locations with more than 25 million users served till date. We have the necessary technical expertise to deliver a turnkey Public WiFi solution required for successful Public WiFi deployments. We have completed over 50 large scale Public WiFi deployments. We have also solved complex business and implementation challenges along the way.
In line with the Government of India’s “Atmanirbhar Bharat” or “Self-Sustainable India” initiative, our range of Access Points and the software which is used to manage the Access Points, are all made, designed & engineered in India. Our Access Points offer blazing speeds, and an amazing user experience. Our company’s vision for a pervasively connected world aligns with the goals defined for the PM WANI project.
Our product suite helps organizations leverage the power of WiFi to the maximum. We provide end-to-end, fully managed WiFi solutions which enable easy operation and management of WiFi Hotspots from a single Dashboard. Our controller solutions allow for Cloud-Based operation and monitoring of WiFi Hotspots placed anywhere in the world. An All-in-One, end to end Hotspot Management Solution, with a WiFi Monetization & Marketing Platform helps you reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) while generating ROI.