Telecom regulator TRAI invited interest from firms to set up on a pilot basis public Wi-Fi hotspots that will be available to the public at a starting price of Rs 2. The public Wi-Fi hotspots are proposed to be set up on the lines of yesteryear’s PCOs that were used for making phone calls by the public on paid basis. Also Read - Ola to offer free oxygen concentrators to the needyAlso Read - TRAI's new SMS regulations will prevent spam, fraudulent messages: Here's how
“TRAI invites all interested entities to be a part of a pilot to establish nationwide, pay-as-you-go PDOs (Public Data Offices). The products available for consumption should begin from ‘sachet-sized’, i.E. Low denominations ranging from Rs 2 to Rs 20, etc,” TRAI said in a statement.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in March had recommended lowering of import duty on Wi-Fi equipment and mooted the concept of ‘public data offices’ and ‘aggregators’ for providing public Wi-Fi services at cheaper rates.
“In India, access to data is still limited due to poor coverage of fibre or telecom and prohibitive pricing of cellular data. Public wi-fi hotspots hold an important place in the last-mile delivery of broadband to users. It allows offloading telecom networks to ease congestion,” TRAI said. ALSO READ: Subscriber base of landline down 4%, wireless up 11.5% in 2016: TRAI
It added that public Wi-Fi hotspots will be crucial when the next billion Internet of things (IoT) devices come online. Under the pilot project, TRAI aims to establish an open system based wi-fi access network interface using which any entity (company, proprietorship, societies, non-profits, etc.) should easily be able to set up a paid public Wi-Fi Access point. ALSO READ: India s internet user base increased by 60 million in 2016: TRAI
“The experience for a small entrepreneur to purchase, self-register, set-up and operate a PDO must be simple, low- touch and maintenance-free,” TRAI said. The regulator has fixed July 25 as the last date for submission of interest from entities.