On Wednesday, the #UnionCabinet approved the establishment of public #Wi-Fi networks across the country. This Central government’s scheme is called the Prime Minister Wi-fi Access Network Interface (#PM-WANI) is an attempt to elevate wireless #InternetConnectivity in the country.
Calling it as a ‘#historic’ initiative, Prime Minister Narendra Modi further added that this scheme will #revolutionize the tech world and significantly improve WiFi availability across the length and breadth of #India.
“The scheme would enable our small shopkeepers to provide Wi-Fi service. This will boost incomes as well as ensure our youth gets seamless internet connectivity. It will also strengthen our Digital India mission,” said the Prime Minister in another tweet about PM-WANI.
How will PM-WANI really work?
The government will establish Public Data Offices (#PDOs) along the lines of Public Call Offices (#PCOs). These PDOs will establish, operate and maintain only the WANI compliant Wi-Fi access points to deliver broadband services to its subscribers.
These PDOs will either provide internet on their own or will lease from some other Internet Service Provider (#ISP). PDO Aggregators (#PDOAs) will also be set up. The government will develop an #application which will register the users on to the network. The application will also help them discover WANI-compliant Wi-Fi #hotspots in nearby areas.
A #CentralRegistry will be set-up which will maintain details of all app providers, PDOAs and PDOs. The registry will be handled by the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT). According to The Economic Times, a customer wanting to access the network from a PDO’s premise can do so only after an #eKYC authentication. The eKYC authentication can be done through an app provider. All the customer would have to do is to download the app provider’s app from an app store once they enter the PDO premise.
Let us now look into the ‘#Benefits’ of PM-WANI
- There shall be #NoLicenseFee for providing broadband Internet through these public Wi-Fi networks.
- Internet access will connect a new wave of users not just to commercial and entertainment sectors, but also to #education, #telehealth and #agriculture extension, and bring greater accountability to government by boosting transparency and interactivity.
- A rapid scale-up of Internet in #rural India will be transformative, given the low level of penetration in 2019, wi-fi connection to broadband fibre service is the fastest route to solve this problem.
- The WANI system offers an elegant way forward to connect #LowRevenueConsumers. It opens up opportunities for community organizations, libraries, educational institutions, panchayats and small entrepreneurs to tap into a whole new ecosystem, purchasing bandwidth from a public data office aggregator to serve local consumers.
- Public Wi-Fi networks will ‘#democratize’ content distribution and broadband access to millions at affordable rates. This will be the UPI (unified payments interface) of connectivity services.
However, the government must address the #PrivacyConcerns of using this high-end technology before implementing it across the country. Citizens expect that this robust service will adhere to the protection of #data-integrity, maintain #transparency on the commercial use of data and provide adequate #security against any possible #cyber-attacks. In order to prevent its #monopolization, the government must ensure ‘true unbundling of hardware, software, apps and payment gateways in the WANI system’.
- Arishmita Aditya
- MBS News