IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


10th December, 2020 Science and Technology

Context: Cabinet approves setting up of public WiFi networks

  • PM-WANI will enable public data offices as hotspots, which could even be kirana and tea shops.
  • It is aimed at helping accelerate the uptake of broadband Internet services, will not require the PDOs to get a license or pay a fee.
  • It was first recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in 2017.
  • It will involve multiple players, including PDOs, Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOA), app providers, and a central registry.
    • PDOs, comparable to a PCO or a cybercafe — will establish, maintain, and operate Wi-Fi access points and deliver broadband services to subscribers, while the PDOAs will be aggregators of PDOs and perform functions such as authorisation and accounting.
    • The app provider will develop the app to register users and discover PM-WANI compliant WiFi hotspots nearby.
  • 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%.
  • Service providers had in 2018 stated that they aimed to provide 5 lakh hotspots by March 31, 2019 and 10 lakh hotspots by September 30, 2019. However, these targets have not been achieved.


  • This move will help unleash a Wi-Fi revolution in the country.
  • For PDOs, there will be no license or fee or registration.
  • It is going to be a power transformative digital platform to empower ordinary Indians by offering a lot of scope for various sectors, particularly education.