In a major push to Digital India, The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is planning to deploy Wi-Fi across the country. This, if implemented in reality, will provide internet access at affordable cost for the people.
A report in The Times of India mentions that the regulatory body will rope in small entrepreneurs, communities, individuals and organisations to provide high-speed internet.
The initial plan is to offer internet at 2 paisa per MB under the Wi-Fi scheme. This is much lower than 10 paisa per MB that prevails in the mobile telecom market.
TRAI will file its recommendation on the issue and put it in front of the ministry
soon, according to the media report.
The committee will also try to make the transfer from mobile data to Wi-Fi convenient for customers by removing unnecessary authentication steps. This is billed as the key feature that will pave the way for the plan’s success.
The ministry will also look into required infrastructure for setting up Wi-Fi spots across the country.
The regulatory authority feels that if Wi-Fi hotspots are put in place, pressure on telcos — who are currently facing stiff competition and have issues of poor call and data quality — will reduce.
TRAI has already floated two consultation papers on low-cost public Wi-Fi system.
The regulatory authority believes penetration of Wi-Fi and hotspot is yet to pick-up in India. While globally, number of Wi-Fi spots have increased 568 percent from 2013 to 2016, in India this number is at a meagre 12 percent.