New Delhi: The Union Cabinet today approved the setting up of public WiFi networks across the country in a bid to strengthen the public WiFi service. This would be done by Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs) which will provide public WiFi service through Public Data Offices (PDOs) spread across the country.

There will be no licence, fee or registration for it,” Information Technology (IT) MinisterRavi Shankar Prasad said.

The Public Wi-Fi Access Network Interface will be known as PM-WANI, Prasad announced.

The proposal will promote the growth of Public Wi-Fi Networks in the country and, in turn, will help in proliferation of Broadband Internet, enhancement of income and employment and empowerment of people.

Objectives of PM-WANI

  • While no registration would be required for PDOs, PDOAs and App Providers will get themselves registered with DoT through online registration portal (SARALSANCHAR; of DoT, without paying any registration fee. Registration shall be granted within 7 days of the application.
  • This is expected to be more business friendly and in line with efforts for ease of doing business. COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated delivery of stable and high-speed Broadband Internet (data) services to an increasingly large number of subscribers in the country including areas which do not have 4G mobile coverage. This can be achieved by deployment of Public Wi-Fi.
  • Further, the proliferation of public Wi-Fi will not only create employment but also enhance disposable incomes in the hands of small and medium entrepreneurs and boost the GDP of the country.
  • Proliferation of Broadband Services through public Wi-Fi is a step towards digital India and consequential benefit thereon.
  • No License Fee for providing broadband internet services using public Wi-Fi Hotspots will massively encourage its proliferation and penetration across the length and breadth of the country. Availability and use of Broadband will enhance incomes, employment, quality of life, ease of doing business etc.