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Govt pushes for open architecture Wi-Fi, DoT to install 10,000 hotspots

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will install 10,000 WiFi hotspots across the country in the coming month, with 600 hotspots already running, The Economic Times has reported. Aruna Sundararajan, Telecom Secretary, said in an official statement “The idea is to launch it first, and refine as we go. We expect to launch 10,000 Wi-Fi hotspots when we launch it next month, and scale up to a 100,000 in the first three months.” TRAI’s push for open-architecture Wi-Fi The DoT is setting up the hotspots under Public Open Wi-Fi project, which is TRAI’s attempt at creating a framework for open architecture Wi-Fi, which it has been pushing for a year. TRAI floated a pilot project in October 2017, called Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (WANI). It was based on a multiple-provider, interoperable model. The 6-month-long project had eight entities providing nearly 600 Wi-Fi networks in different parts of the country. The TRAI calls these entities public data offices (PDOs) for last-mile connectivity. During the six-month-long pilot project, PDOs (hotspot providers) bought data from ISPs and resold it to users in smaller size packs, costing Rs 2-20 in a “pay-as-you-go” model. This development comes as TRAI works out its Aadhaar login-based WiFi hotspot architecture. WiFi hotspots are highly regulated in India since operators need special permissions to resell bandwidth and have to verify the identity — via SMS-based one-time passcodes — of every user who signs up on the network. This essentially means that only large conglomerates, established telcos and government organizations are…

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