The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) proposed to expand broadband access through public Wi-Fi networks under the Prime Minister’s Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM-WANI) framework on December 9, 2020, which was subsequently approved by the Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
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PM WANI framework
The PM-WANI framework envisages the provision of Broadband through Public Wi-Fi Hotspot providers. Under this framework, Individuals in a residential area can serve as Public Data Office (PDO) and provide WI-FI service. The framework includes elements such as Public Data Office (PDO), Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA), App Provider and Central Registry.
According to the PM-WANI framework, to facilitate ease of doing business and encourage local shops and small establishments to become Wi-Fi providers, it has been approved that the last-mile Public Wi-Fi providers require no license, no registration and will not need to pay any fees to DoT.
How to Access Broadband on PM-WANI Wi-Fi?
To access broadband through public Wi-Fi, potential users will be required to download the relevant app and complete the authentication process. Once authenticated, they can access broadband at any public Wi-Fi hotspot. When a user reaches a public Wi-Fi hotspot, the app on their mobile phone will display various available networks. They can then choose their preferred public Wi-Fi network, make a payment (either online or through a voucher), and use the network until their balance is exhausted.
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Minister of State for Communications, Shri Devusinh Chauhan, in his written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, shared the details of the number of Wi-Fi hotspots deployed under the PM-WANI framework in the country. As on March 09, 2023, 1,47,764 Wi-Fi hotspots have been deployed in India. The list according to state wise is as below.
The State/UT wise number of hotspots under PM WANI framework:
|Sl. No||State/UT||Total WI-FI Hotspots|
|1||Andaman & Nicobar||246|
|14||Jammu & Kashmir||1478|