TV Ramachandran, President of Broadband India Forum, today said that the public Wi-Fi model WANI has the potential to generate over 2 crore jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities, besides offering a cost-effective means of mass connectivity. Slamming the concerns over the viability of the public Wi-Fi model, he added that numerous proofs of concept have been performed by the government for several years. Ramachandran further said that mobile data tariffs are rising continuously with reports in certain sections indicating a further 30-40 per cent possible rise in the near future, but, Wi-Fi hotspots would continue to offer a more cost-effective option for the common man, and could emerge as an affordable means for mass public connectivity.
It is to be noted that the Union Cabinet had last week approved for setting up of public Wi-Fi networks by Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs) spread across the country. The government had said there shall be no license fee for providing broadband. It had added that the move will be more business-friendly, and in line with efforts for ease of doing business.
The government aims to provide stable and high-speed internet services to an increasingly large number of subscribers in the country, including areas, which do not have 4G mobile coverage. For this, it believes that the deployment of public Wi-Fi would be helpful.
Given the National Digital Communications Policy goals of creating 1 crore public Wi-Fi hotspots by 2022, and with the present number being merely at 3.5 lakh, the Pradhan Mantri Wireless Access Network Interface (PM-WANI) Policy is expected to result in the creation of demand and scope for developing the components for this crucial pan-India activity. “This presents a great opportunity to the local manufacturing and supply chain sectors for producing indigenous Wi-Fi equipment to cater to these hotspots, providing a massive impetus to our national mission of Atmanirbharta, BIF said.