Availability of public WiFi hotspots in rural and urban areas will lead to increased employment for micro and small entrepreneurs in these regions by providing them with an additional source of income, Department of Telecommunication (DoT) secretary K Rajaraman has said.
The Union Cabinet had in December 2020 approved setting up of public WiFi networks across India, provided through public data offices (PDOs) for which no licence, registration or any other fees is applicable.
According to Rajaraman, who spoke at the 3rd WiFi India Virtual Summit 2022 on Saturday, organised by BroadBand India Forum, telecom and internet service providers would also benefit from sale of internet recharge vouchers to PDOs.
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“Developments under the scheme have been steady with already more than 56,000 access points deployed. There is still scope for further development of WiFi ecosystem in the country. By conservative estimate of each hotspot enabling two-three direct and indirect employment opportunities, the creation of 10 million hotspots as per the NDCP (National Digital Communications Policy) target by 2022 would potentially generate 2-3 crore job opportunity in the small and medium scale sectors,” he was quoted as saying in a report in The Indian Express.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had in 2017 mooted the idea of a PDO which would allow users to connect to a public WiFi system for a limited session depending on the internet pack chosen. PDOs would charge such internet packs on per minute or per hour basis.