The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the proposal of the Department of Telecommunications for setting up of public Wi-Fi networks by Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs) to provide public Wi-Fi service through Public Data Offices (PD0s) across the country.

The Union Cabinet was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This public Wi-Fi access network interface will be known as PM-WANT and there will be no licence fee for providing broadband Internet through these public Wi-Fi networks.

Addressing media on Wednesday, Information Technology (IT) Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Cabinet has taken a decision to launch PM- Wi-fi Access Network Interface-to unleash a massive Wi-Fi network in the country.”

“Public data centres will be opened across the country. There will be no licence, fee or registration for it,” he added.

The Union Cabinet has also approved the provision of submarine optical fibre cable connectivity between the mainland (Kochi) and Lakshadweep Islands. The proposal will promote the growth of public Wi-Fi networks in the country and, in turn, will help in proliferation of broadband Internet, enhancement of income and employment and empowerment of people.

“No licence fee for providing broadband internet services using public Wi-Fi hotspots will massively encourage its proliferation and penetration across the length and breadth of the country. Availability and use of broadband will enhance incomes, employment, quality of life and ease of doing business,” the Union Minister said.

According to the government, the proliferation of public Wi-Fi will not only create employment but also enhance disposable incomes in the hands of small and medium entrepreneurs and boost the GDP (gross domestic product) of the country.

The proliferation of broadband services through public Wi-Fi is a step towards digital India and consequential benefit thereon. (ANI)