From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : PM-WANI
Mains level : Internet connectivity, Digital divide
In a bid to improve wireless connectivity, the Union Cabinet approved setting up of the public WiFi was part of the Prime Minister WiFi Access Network Interface (PM- WANI).
Do you know?
According to TRAI, in most major economies, for 50%-70% of their total usage time, mobile users use WiFi technology to communicate. However, in India, this figure is less than 10%.
- The WiFi will be provided through public data offices (PDOs) for which there will be no licence, registration or any other fees.
- The PDO, to be set up along the lines of public calling office, can be a mom-and-pop store in the area or the common services centre present in various small towns, gram panchayats, and villages in the country.
- The PDOs can either provide the internet on other own or lease it from other telecom and internet service providers.
The centre-stage: Public Data Offices (PDO)
- The idea of a PDO was first floated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in 2017.
- Like a PCO, the PDO allows users to connect to a public WiFi system for a limited session depending on the internet pack chosen by the user.
- These internet packages can either by charged on per minute or per hour basis by the PDOs.
Licensing of PDOs
- There will be no licence for PDOs. A simple registration system will be put in place for PDO aggregators as well as app providers, which will be approved within seven days of the application being submitted.
- In addition to the PDOs, there will also be PDO aggregators, which will look after the authorisation and accounting of PDOs.
A note for users
- A third layer will of app providers, available for download on the Play Store as well as the Apple Store, will enable users to register for using the public WiFi at a particular place.
- Users, however, will not be required to download different apps, as a single app will provide seamless connectivity to any PDO across the country.