Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) in India has developed a low-cost Public Data Office (PDO) to help meet end to end connectivity solutions in the country. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had mandated C-DoT to create a PDO system to improve Wi-Fi data hotspots and improve connectivity in smaller pockets of the country. The new solution created is priced under Rs 50,000 and therefore affordable for small scale retail vendors in the country.
Through a PDO, the shopkeeper can sell Wi-Fi at low costs, with recharge vouchers starting as low as Rs 10. The service is provided using the license-free ISM (Industrial, Scientific and Medical) band. The complete package includes Wi-Fi access point along with e-KYC, OTP (one-time password) authentication, a voucher management mechanism and a billing system.
Approximately 20 manufacturing partners, the likes of Himachal Futuristic Communications Ltd (HFCL), Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (Bhel) and ITI Ltd, have been roped in to create and set up the mechanism. Retailers in semi-urban and rural regions can connect over the free-to-use frequency in 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz bands. Such retailers will be exempt from traditional regulations and face no interference from other spectrums.
C-DoT’s executive director Vipin Tyagi said in a statement to Economic Times, “Today, Digital India is not happening in every nook and corner of India. But the concept of PDO will enable even a thelawallah to sell low cost Wi-Fi-based broadband services anywhere. Even a nearby kirana shop can resell data services for as low as Rs 10 or even less.” ALSO READ: Amazon Fire TV stick first impressions: What’s in the box, how to set up, is it better than Chromecast, and more
With India swiftly moving towards digitization, rural regions, not being the focus of telecom and service providers miss out on connectivity. Also, traditional data packs seem improbable in the region owing to fixed limits and high (comparatively) costs. TRAI is aiming to improve connectivity in these regions, over the present telecom competition. The new system is not different from the traditional cyber-cafes which ruled the country in the late 90s.
As per TRAI, “PDOs will be venue owners. These may not own or deploy any infrastructure and may not have the means or resources to actually implement a seamless interoperable system on their own. This is where the role of a PDOA comes in…PDOAs will be registered with the DoT and there should be no limit on the number of PDOs (venues) that such a PDOA can register.”