November 29, 2021

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PM WANI’s public Wi-Fi proliferation to help local entrepreneurs like chaiwalas, kiranas earn more: Govt

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. (Image: Pexels.com

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.”

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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.

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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.

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