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India has emerged as one of the biggest internet markets out there, thanks to the launch of Reliance Jio and some of the cheapest data rates across the globe. On Wednesday,  the Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad announced the launch of PM WANI (PM- Wi-Fi Access Network Interface), which aims to provide public Wi-Fi service across the nation.

“There will be no license, fee or registration for it,” Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet approved setting up of these Public Wi-Fi Networks with an outline involving multiple players — Public Data Office (PDO), Public Data Office Aggregators and app providers. It is launched with the intention of providing a boost to business and employment opportunities, enhancing disposable incomes in the hands of small and medium entrepreneurs and boosting the GDP of the country.

Public Data Office (PDO) will establish, sustain, and operate only WANI compliant Wi-Fi Access Points and provide broadband services to subscribers. Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA) will be an aggregator of the PDOs and will execute the functions relating to authorization and accounting. Last but not least, a mobile application will be launched to register users and regulate the WANI-compliant Wi-Fi hotspots in the vicinity and display them within the application for accessing internet service.

Moreover, Central Registry will maintain the details of App Providers, PDOAs, and PDOs. To begin with, the Central Registry will be maintained by C-DoT or Centre of Development for Telematics, a government-owned telecommunications technology development center.

“It will create millions of inter-operable Wi-Fi hotspots in the country and democratize content distribution and broadband access to millions at affordable rates. This will be the UPI of connectivity services,” tweeted R S Sharma, former chairman of the TRAI.

The cabinet also approved the setting up of submarine optical fibre cable connectivity between the coast of Kochi and Lakshadweep Islands. This would be on the lines of the one recently laid to Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

“You will also need many IT Infra support engineers, app developers, app maintenance engineers and not to forget cyber security professionals as this opens huge cyber risk. This move will lead to huge employment opportunity in IT, IT Infrastructure, and Telecom sectors,” said Mr. Sunil C, Head- Specialized Staffing, TeamLease Digital.

This move is anticipated to improve the ease of doing business. COVID-19 pandemic has imposed the need for reliable and high-speed Broadband Internet (data) services to a rising number of subscribers in the country inclusive of locations which do not have 4G mobile coverage.

Further, the proliferation of public Wi-Fi will not only generate employment but also strengthened disposable incomes in the pockets of small and medium entrepreneurs and revive the GDP of the country. Propagation of Broadband Services with the means of public Wi-Fi is a step towards digital India and consequential benefit thereon.