Telecom regulator TRAI has recently invited all interested entities to be part of a pilot basis public wi-fi hotspots that will be available to the public at a starting price of Rs 2.
"Telecom Regulator Authority of India (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," regulator said in a report.
The report further added that, in India, access to data is still limited due to poor coverage of fiber 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.
It added that public wi-fi hotspots will be crucial when the next billion internets 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.
"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.
Meanwhile, TRAI has fixed July 25 as the last date for submission of interest from entities.
The report also pointed out that the telecom regulator said that public hotspots hold an important place in the last-mile delivery of broadband to users. Wi-Fi is much easier to scale than adding new LTE towers and 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."