Small shops, cafe and mall owners, telcos, Internet Service Providers, payment gateways, and even communities could step in and “divide the cost” of operating a WiFi hotspot, India’s telecom regulator TRAI suggested in a consultation paper (pdf) titled “Model for Nation-wide Interoperable and Scalable Public Wi-Fi Networks”. The regulator also examined some partnership models between these entities to help speed up adoption of Public WiFi networks. TRAI said that the cost of installing WiFi networks can be “unbundled” between several entities by: -Allowing Shop, café, and mall owners (venues) to setup physical WiFi access points and other connectivity related hardware. -Letting telcos/ISPs to re-sell Internet bandwidth wherein costs will be borne by the venue owner. -Allowing third parties or even apps to run advertisement and promotions on local WiFi networks to help venue owners to monetize via their WiFi service. -Integrating payment solution providers and payment gateways within the WiFi networks for faster authentication Possible partnership models suggested by TRAI These entities can then work on a collaborative approach for deploying Public WiFi networks, according to the regulator. These include Maintenance free model: Telcos and ISPs could encourage small shop owners, small communities and entrepreneurs to buy WiFi hardware systems bundled with bandwidth. The final maintenance and installation cost is borne by the telco or the bandwidth provider. Co-investment model: Since smaller shops and cafes won’t be able to buy spectrum and deploy their own WiFi networks, ISPs/telcos can partner with these owners providing Internet bandwidth and share revenue. TRAI…
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