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TRAI’s PAYG Public Wi-Fi Project Attracts Strong Response From Startups

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recently invited startup companies for a Pilot project for Nationwide Wi-Fi Network. The regulator has received an overwhelming response from the startups. This pilot project is aimed at setting up Public Data Offices (PDOs) to provide on-the-go Wi-Fi.
TRAI also presented their network architecture built around the open architecture based Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (WANI). This facilitates the participation of Public Data Office Providers, Access-point Providers, Application Providers and so on. Any number of entities can participate in the network, hence making it a truly unbundled Wi-Fi network.

About Nationwide Wi-Fi network

The Nationwide Wi-Fi network is about to undergo Pilot Testing phase. The program is to make Public Data Offices, which can provide Wi-Fi hotspots to users on-the-go. This will focus on providing small data packets to the users. Setting up this type of network would provide consistent and affordable WiFi data for the entire nation.
The network allows any company, proprietorship, society or non-profit organisations to set up a paid Wi-Fi access point for public usage. The telecom regulator invited startups to provide various infrastructure for pilot testing of the same. The startups will work with TRAI to provide essential technology to set up Public Data Offices.

Importance of this Network

The creation of a Nationwide Wi-Fi network, based on an Open Architecture will be beneficial for the country. This will make internet connectivity cheaper and more consistently available.
Moreover, the creation of such a network will improve India’s overall ranking in data usage. TRAI has also estimated the Wi-Fi network to cost the users about 2 paise per MB, which is significantly lower than the current 23 paise per MB that we pay for mobile data.

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