According to the new report by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ( TRAI), there are only 31,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots in India, compared to 13 million in France, and 10 million in the United States of America.
The report said, "Public hotspots hold an important place in the last-mile delivery of broadband to users. It allows for offloading from telecom networks to ease congestion and will be crucial when the next billion IoT devices come online. Yet, there are only 31,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots in India, compared to 13 million in France, and 10 million in the United States of America. In India, access to data is still limited due to poor coverage of fiber/telecom and prohibitive pricing of cellular data".
TRAI has further stated that WiFi and LTE are not competing for technologies.
"Wi-Fi is a complementary, not competing technology to LTE. Wi-Fi is much easier to scale than adding new LTE towers. It bolsters connectivity inside buildings, airports, where LTE penetration is inherently limited. It is not enough to only install more routers", the regulator said.
TRAI further says that it aimed to offer a seamless experience to end users, both residents, and international travelers.
To provide a simplified, consistent experience across hotspots from various providers means unbundling authentication, payment, and accounting from hardware and software running on the Access Point. This will allow small entrepreneurs such as tea shops, to set up and maintain Access Points. Whereas device manufacturers, payment companies, ISPs/Telcos and Consumer Internet companies can provide the remaining pieces to set up Public Data Offices (PDOs), the report further said.
TRAI's stress on the internet for all comes from the fact that the World Bank has observed that a 10 percent increase in Internet penetration leads to a 1.4 percent increase in GDP. Access to the Internet is considered a basic human right by many countries globally, including Estonia, Finland, and France.