The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will soon make recommendations on public WiFi networks, to facilitate the government’s digital push. The regulator said on Monday that it will take the next 20 to 25 days to come up with a roadmap for the proliferation of paid Wi-Fi networks across the country. These Wi-Fi networks will provide broadband access to consumers at a cheap and affordable rate, instead of being completely free of cost. As per TRAI, a free Wi-Fi hotspot module will not be sustainable in the long term.
"The Wi-Fi networks we are talking about will not be free but they will be very affordable. Compared to the data costs right now, it will be just 10 per cent...So, people will be able to take advantage of that," explained RS Sharma, Chairman, TRAI.
In a consultation paper floated last year, the regulator had given out estimates of data costs for public Wi-Fi networks. According to TRAI 1MB of data could cost as low as 2 paise as opposed to 23 paise paid by consumers to cellular networks.
Although a roadmap will be delivered by TRAI, the regulator did not share a timeline on the implementation of these Wi-Fi networks. “Implementation is not our mandate. So, we will create such conditions or try to give recommendations that will ensure that these proliferate,” said Sharma.