Most internet enthusiasts these days are heavily dependent on Wi-Fi, as compared to mobile data. So, just in case you fall under the similar category, and is an avid Wi-Fi user, here’s a good news for you. Wi-Fi data vouchers are coming soon. Yes, you will soon be able to buy Wi-Fi data vouchers, similar to that of the mobile recharge cards from nearby ‘kirana’ stores or local street vendors.
This initiative comes in after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended operator on lowering of import duty on Wi-Fi equipment with the introduction of ‘public data offices’ (PDO) and aggregators providing public Wi-Fi services under Rs 50,000. With this move, internet users will surely spare the horror of spending a lump sum amount on Wi-Fi bills or recharges.
Several media reports suggest that all the internet users will be soon able to purchase Wi-Fi powered data packs kirana stores or local street vendors at a minimal denomination starting at Rs 10. That sounds really cheap, right? Well, that’s exactly what TRAI is geared up to do for you. This will basically enable users to have access to a good internet connection at a very ‘cheap’ price.
Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) has developed a service where the street vendors will be provided with a license-free ISM (industrial, scientific and medical) band says a media report. Adding up to the initiative, C-DoT’s Executive Director, Vipin Tyagi says, “The Wi-Fi data voucher will kick start from Meerut, and later eventually spread across the country.” Tyagi further also says that they are also working on providing Wi-Fi equipment to the respective Kirana stores, through which, internet users nearby the store will be able to get access to the Wi-Fi.
Tyagi further reveals that the equipment will not only be just limited to the ‘thela’ but will also be put up to other grocery and similar such small shops as well. With this, anyone with a supportive device will be able to get browsing access to internet, however, to do so, the users will have to buy the Wi-Fi data vouchers, worth Rs 10.
Further speaking to the Economic Times, “The concept of Digital India is not prevalent in every nook and corner. However, with PDO, enable even the lawallah to sell Wi-Fi-based broadband services anywhere for as low as Rs 10 or even less.” To seamlessly initiate this move, C-DoT will transfer the PDO technology to 20 manufacturing partners, which includes – Bharat Heavy Electricals Himachal Futuristic Communications for commercial production of the devices.
“Along with an organised billing system, the electronically powered device will offer a Wi-Fi access point with e-KYC (know your customer), OTP (one-time password) authentication and voucher packs,” reports Business Standard. Not only that, the small retailers will also be able to use free-to-use frequency available in 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) and 5.8 GHz bandwidth. With this, the users will be able to easily access radio spectrum without any restriction or interference from any of the telecom operators or regulatory bodies.
Several media reports show that the regulators have estimated that the cost per megabyte in Wi-Fi network could be less than Rs 2 paise, which is much lower to that of the what consumers on average pay for normal Wi-Fi connections, which is approx around 23 paise.
Commenting on the introduction of Wi-Fi data vouchers, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India told PTI that measures like this will not only increase the number of public hotspots, but make internet services more affordable in the country. Adding on, this move if initiated diligently will also encourage village-level entrepreneurship and provide strong employment opportunities, especially in rural areas, shows another report.