Context: PM-WANI has the potential to revolutionise the way India accesses the internet.
What are the key features of Pradhan Mantri Wireless Access Network Interface (PM-WANI)?
- Bring large scale deployment of Wi-Fi hotspots through the country to drive up connectivity options and improve digital access.
- The scheme envisages setting up of public Wi-Fi networks and access points by local Kirana and neighbourhood shops through public data offices (PDO will be set up on the lines of Public Call Offices (PCOs)) that will not involve any licence, fee or registration.
What are the needs of PM-WANI?
- To create value for the consumer.
- To quickly reach countrymen in the remotest areas.
- India’s tele-density of landlines never exceeded 7 per 100 people but due to mobile it exceeded to 90 per 100 people.
- India grew from 302 million internet subscribers to 750 million.
- India is one of the fastest growing internet markets in the world.
- To deliver a resilient and reliable connection to every Indian and reliable access everywhere.
- Despite excellent advances in 4G technology, wired connections still offer superior quality, reliability and throughput.
How PM-Wani can revolutionise access to internet?
- UPI created common payments infrastructure that unbundled whose app you use to pay from which bank your money was in.
- This resulted in 3 Cs — greater convenience, higher confidence and lower costs.
- PM-WANI unbundles whose wired connection you use from who you pay to use that connection.
- It allows them to interoperate and focus on connecting the last user. It is built on unbundling three as — access, authorisation and accounting.
What are the dimensions along which PM-WANI has broken away from the past?
- PM-WANI has liberalised the resale of bandwidth. Earlier only licensed players could become Internet Service Providers and resell bandwidth.
- This has led to the top 5 ISPs owning 75 per cent of the volume of all wired subscribers.
- PM-WANI allows anyone — a kirana shop owner, a tea-stall vendor, or a Common Service Centre to resell internet to its customers without a licence and without fees.
- By installing a wireless router, they can get on the PM-WANI network and start selling connectivity.
- These small vendors will be called Public Data Offices (PDOs), in a deliberate hark back to the Public Call Offices of yore.
- Due to this deregulation, the distribution of endpoints of PM-WANI will be selected by entrepreneurs rather than being decided top-down.
How PM-WANI is forward-looking in its design?
- Presence of robust identity infrastructure in the form of Aadhaar and DigiLocker. It will help to authenticate its users.
- This architecture also allows a central data balance and central KYC, that users can use inter-operably across all PDOs.
- The network operators then settle accounting between them, much like how telecom operators settle call termination charges.
- Indians can log in once and enjoy access on all available WiFi networks.
- It also allows international travellers to take advantage of India’s connectivity, without paying exorbitant roaming charges to their home networks.