Recently, the Union Cabinet has given its approval to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for setting up of Public Wi-Fi networks by Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs) pan-India. 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 opportunities and empowerment of people.
This Public Wi-Fi Access Network Interface will be known as PM-WANI and will be operated by four players – Public Data Office (PDO) will establish, maintain and operate only WANI compliant Wi-Fi Access Points and deliver broadband services to subscribers; PDOA will be an aggregator of PDOs and perform the functions relating to authorization and accounting; App Provider will develop an app to register users and discover WANI compliant Wi-Fi hotspots in the nearby area and display the same; and C-DOT will act as a central registry and maintain details of App Providers, PDOAs and PDOs.
C. S. Rao, Chairman and Co Founder, QuadGen Wireless Solutions has laid stress on the fact that PDOAs must aim to establish a telco/carrier grade Wi-Fi Access Point (WAP) whose reliability and maintainability must be at 99.9% and conforming to WBA (Wireless Broadband Alliance) standards and at the same time WANI compliant at the Public Data office (PDO) location.
To make the PM-WANI model successful in the long run, C. S. Rao has suggested Top 16 salient points.
The Top 16 Salient Points are:
1. Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs) must aim to establish a telco/carrier grade Wi-Fi Access Point (WAP) whose reliability and maintainability must be at 99.9% and conforming to WBA (Wireless Broadband Alliance) standards and at the same time WANI compliant at the Public Data office (PDO) location with Capex at least ranging from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 75,000 for such PDO location having 1 to 4 Wireless Access Points (WAPs).
2. PDOs must have the ability to source a good minimum 10 Mbps link with high availability and good Quality of Service (QoS) of 90% at a reasonable price of less than Rs. 1 lakh per year with MTTR of less than 2 hours. Also PDO may need 10 Mbps link, if the venue area and quantum of footfall is likely to be higher than 50 at any time of the day.
2. PDOs must be able to sell data packs at 1/3rd the price per GB than that of the mobile operator and ensure 2x to 3x higher speeds of download compared to the mobile operator.
3. PDOs must be able to pay to PDOA a recurring fee of at least Rs. 900 per month per PDO location having 1 or 2 Wi-Fi access points at the HostSpot.
4. PDOs must have uninterrupted power at the PDO location and face 4 to 6 hour outages from power shut down.
5. PDOs must have PhonePe/Paytm/Google Pay/BHIM kind of payment apps for as low as Rs. 2 to 3 per 1 GB and/or 500 MB of data pack usage for 1 hour or 30 minutes validity or a monthly pack of Rs. 50 for 30 Gbps.
6. PDOs must be protected from any complicated revenue sharing arrangements for data packs sold by PDO with PDOA by treating PDO as a franchisee of PDOA.
7. PDOs must have the ability to have O&M capability for PDO Wi-FI infrastructure without any dependency on PDOA.
8. PDOAs must have telco grade WAC/WAG/LIM/OSS & BSS capability in high availability mode with 1+1 redundancy and must have a scope and scale of a minimum of a part of a big town/cluster of villages panchayats or a taluk or a district etc.
9. PDOAs must have the ability to source from telco and resell the bandwidth to PDO and PDOA is responsible to ensure high availability norms of bandwidth agreed with telco and ensure MTTR of less than 1 hour for such bandwidth availability to PDO.
10. PDOAs must own the responsibility and comply with Lawful Intercept Monitoring (LIM) of all the Wi-Fi data pack sessions used by the consumers at different PDOs.
11. PDOAs must have revenue sharing agreements with neighbouring or other PDOAs of different regions and must have unquestionable proof centric data packs consumed by consumers from home PDOA zone while in roaming mode in a visitor PDOA zone.
12. PDOAs must have a good business model by having revenues coming from a certain minimum number of PDOs coming to a PDOA.
13. Preferable, most pragmatic and profitable models will be an application provider to be an integral part of PDOA.
14. Application providers if separate from PDOA must have a usage/invocation model of App usage based revenues collected from PDOA.
15. App Providers and PDOA must have absolute integration capabilities of their subsystems on solid APIs with sound software stability for a scalable model of such interworking and interoperability.
16. Global OEMs like Cisco, Ruckus, Cambium, Juniper, Aruba, Arista, Samsung, Nokia, Commscope etc. must support WANI Interface and WBA compliance without which a good quality Wi-Fi infrastructure will not be established across the nation.
DigiAnalysys Media has been strongly propagating use of public wi-fi for connecting the un-connected since last few years via editorials, whitepapers and industry events. Here’s the link to know more about wi-fi and its related eco-system.
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