April 2017


On March 10, 2017, the TRAI submitted its recommendations on delivery of broadband through public WiFi networks. TRAI would like to see internet being delivered via WiFi for as low as 2 paise per MB against 10 paise per MB charged by mobile phone companies. Wi-Fi networks can also take the load off from choked telecom networks battling poor call quality and slow broadband speeds.

The regulator's recommendations include:

1. The ISP license allow sharing of active infrastructure, in line with the Unified License (UL).

2. As earlier recommended by TRAI, the 5.725 GHz to 5.825 GHz spectrum band should be delicensed for outdoor usage.

Further, the E band (71 to 76 GHz and 81 to 86 GHz) and V band (57 to 64 GHz) should also be made available to service providers.

3. The existing requirement of authentication through OTP for each instance of access, be removed. Authentication through eKYC, eCAF and other electronic modes should be allowed.

4. Import duty on WiFi access point equipment should be reduced.

5. Public Data Offices (PDOs), similar to telephone's Public Call Offices (PCOs), should be allowed across India, to provide public WiFi services. This will increase number of public hotspots and make Internet access more affordable, countrywide.

6. Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs) be allowed to provide public WiFi, without obtaining any license. They must be registered to ensure that eKYC, authentication and record keeping is done by them. PDOAs will be like entrepreneurs who own and operate PCOs. This will provide village level employment, especially in rural areas.

7. PDOAs be allowed to enter into agreements with third party application/ service providers to manage authentication and payment. n