Telecom dept issues guidelines for PM-WANI project

Department of Telecommunications issues guidelines for PM-WANI project

Any entity can become a public Wi-Fi hotspot to provide internet service

Representative image. Credit: iStock.

The department of telecommunications (DoT) on Monday issued guidelines for Prime Minister Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM-WANI) project, saying that any entity can become a public Wi-Fi hotspot to provide internet services to consumers.

As per guidelines, restaurants, tea stalls, hotels, grocery stores, and other places can become Wi-Fi access points without registration with the DoT and use bandwidth procured from service providers.

“The backhaul requirement for these Wi-Fi access points will be met by procuring internet bandwidth from the telecom service providers/internet service providers," said the DoT.

Internet Service Providers, and companies like Google and Facebook can start registration and can offer WiFi hotspot services, said an official in the statement.

Last week, the Union Cabinet approved PM-WANI project, aimed at proliferation of broadband connectivity in the country.

The cabinet approved the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended aggregator-model paving the way for new categories of public data offices (PDOs), public data office aggregators (PDOAs) and app providers to deliver public WiFi services without a licence.

Any company registered under the Companies Act, 2013 can become a PDOA with DoT’s certification and free of cost. The DoT will approve the registration within seven days. A PDOA will be an aggregator of PDOs to oversee authorisation and accounting of Wi-Fi connections, the DoT said. The process of registration as an app developer will be the same, says the guidelines.

An app developer will build a platform to register users and discover Wani-compliant Wi-Fi hotspots in an area and display them on the app, says the guidelines.

The government hoping that the scheme will promote growth of public Wi-Fi networks in the country.

At present the country has around one lakh WiFi hotspots against the targets of 5 million by 2020 and 10 million by 2022 set by National Digital Communications Policy, 2018.