Telecom regulator Trai on Wednesday sought public views on allowing non-telecom companies to participate in setting up public wifi hotspots, and said low- cost Wi-Fi access infrastructure could slash internet rates by up to 90 per cent, while offering faster speeds.
The regulator has sought public views by August 10 on slew of issues including regulatory hurdles, licensing restrictions, business models, inter operability between wifi networks and licensing of more mobile airwaves.
Other issues that would be deliberated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India include policy measures to encourage policy measures required to encourage the deployment of commercial models for city-wide Wi-Fi networks as well as expansion of Wi-Fi networks in remote or rural areas.
The public views have also been sought on adoption of a hub-based model where a central third party Authentication, Authorization and Accounting hub will facilitate interconnection, authentication and payments and who should own and control such hub.
From the above, it is obvious that deployment of Wi-Fi network will not only enhance the speed of internet but also it will make data affordable to consumers, Trai said.
The regulator said that status of Wi-Fi hotspots in India is not encouraging as while the country represents one-sixth of the world population but its share in Wi-Fi hotspots is less than one-thousandth.
Globally, the increase in number of Wi-Fi hotspots from 2013 to 2016 has been 568 per cent whereas India has an increase of 12 per cent only. At present, there are only 31,518 with 13,967 installed in cafes, Trai said