Spreading The Net: Andhra Pradesh Launches Its First-Ever Project Under PM-WANI Scheme

by Swarajya Staff - Oct 12, 2021 05:46 PM +05:30 IST
Spreading The Net: Andhra Pradesh Launches Its First-Ever Project Under PM-WANI Scheme(Map of Andhra Pradesh)
Snapshot
  • The PM-WANI Scheme was approved by the Union cabinet in December 2020 with an aim to revolutionise the internet economy and to expand broadband penetration in the country.

Andhra Pradesh has just taken the next big step towards territorial digitisation — meaning, a better internet-connected ecosystem.

Its Finance Minister, Buggana Rajendranath Reddy, recently inaugurated the state’s first project under the Pradhan Mantri Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM-WANI) Scheme in Uyyalawada village of Kurnool district.

Under the project, Tess and Tera were launched as Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOA) and the app provider for the state was inaugurated under the brand name of Wi-DOT.

The role of PDOAs is to aggregate all the Public Data Offices (PDOs) and perform the functions relating to authorisation and accounting of users willing to use the services after payment.

PDOs are the basic units of the PM-WANI ecosystem who will establish, maintain, and operate only WANI compliant Wi-Fi Access Points and deliver broadband services to subscribers.

The project was launched as part of the ongoing Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations. During the ceremony, S.V.V. Sanjeeva Kumar, the founder and CEO of Tess and Tera Techno Solutions said that “This move will accelerate the proliferation of public broadband services through Wi-Fi networks and it will enable local entrepreneurs such as chaiwalas, kirana stores and eateries to earn additional revenue,” reported The Hindu.

What is the PM-WANI Scheme?

The PM-WANI Scheme was approved by the cabinet in December 2020 with an aim to revolutionise the internet economy and to expand broadband penetration in the country.

PM-WANI has four key players for the implementation of the scheme.

At the basic level are the individual entrepreneurs called public data officers who will set up a compliant Wi-Fi network by purchasing it from services providers.

PDOs can be local shops and small establishments who can also start providing Wi-Fi services.

Next in line in the PM-WANI ecosystem are the public data office aggregators who perform the task of aggregating all the PDOs and help in authorisation and accounting of users.

The app providers will develop an app to register users and help them discover WANI compliant Wi-Fi hotspots in the nearby area and display the same within the app for accessing the internet service.

They will also perform KYC and verify customers.

Finally, the Central Registry, will maintain the details of App Providers, PDOAs, and PDOs. To begin with, the Central Registry will be maintained by Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), an autonomous research institute under the Ministry of Communications.

Broadband Access in India

According to the annual report of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), India currently has a broadband penetration of 55 per cent. But access to internet is heavily skewed towards urban India which has a penetration of 104 per cent compared to rural India which had a penetration of only 34.6 per cent.

PM-WANI was introduced mainly to improve internet access in rural India. As per the National Digital Communication Policy, the government intends to launch millions of public hotspots under this scheme.

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