Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: Light-touch (relaxed) regulation of Prime Minister Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM-WANI) framework will encourage entrepreneurs to set up public Wi-Fi hotspots and generate additional revenue for themselves, said Deputy Director General (Technology), Department of Telecom (DoT) Ajay Kamal on Wednesday. Addressing a webinar on PM-WANI framework for Bharat Broadband Network Limited, Common Service Centres, and Village-level entrepreneurs in Mumbai, Kamal noted that the scheme has “immense potential for proliferation of affordable broadband access to realize the vision of Digital India,” a statement from Communications Ministry cited.
According to the scheme, no license is required by Public Data Offices (PDOs) from DoT for providing the Internet through these public Wi-Fi networks. The ministry noted that the growth in public Wi-Fi networks through PM WANI scheme will enable local entrepreneurs “such as chaiwalas, kirana stores and eateries to earn additional revenue.”
The scheme was launched by DoT to set up public Wi-Fi Networks by Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs) and provide public Wi-Fi services through PDOs spread across India. Approved by the Cabinet last year, the government had targeted 10 million Wi-Fi hotspots by 2022 as per the National Digital Communication Plan and will be facilitated by the PM-WANI scheme, the ministry added.
Within 10 months of the scheme’s launch, over 50,000 PM-WANI hotspots have been deployed, as per data from PM-WANI Central Registry even as the government had last year in December targeted 2 million hotspots by end of 2021. Also, the independent think Broadband India Foundation had said that the scheme will lead to the creation of 20-30 million job opportunities in small and medium-sized firms.
For a user to access Wi-Fi under the scheme has to download an app provider’s app, get authenticated and access the app. In the vicinity of the public Wi-Fi hotspot, the app on the mobile phone shows available networks among which the user can choose the network of his/her choice, pay an amount and use the network till the balance is exhausted.