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The PM WANI Scheme is the scheme announced by the Department of Telecommunication on 9th December 2020. The aim of the PM WANI Scheme is to increase internet connectivity across the country and to improve digital access.

Public Wi-Fi networks and access points will be set up by local Kirana and neighborhood shops through Public Data Offices (PDOs) that will not require registration, licensing, or fees. It can revolutionize the tech world and significantly improve Wi-Fi availability across the length and breadth of India.

The scheme will function as follows:

  • In order to become a PDO, any entity must purchase network services from a service provider in order to set up a Wi-Fi access point.
  • PDOAs are registered on the App by the PDO.
  • After registering and authenticating themselves on the App, any potential user near a Wi-Fi access point can now connect to a PDO.
  • After authenticating the user, this request is sent to the PDOA which displays tariff plans after authenticating the user.
  • After the payment has been made to the PDOA, the PDOA registers the user and delivers them with the requested Wi-Fi access.

PM Wani Scheme Apply Online:

The application form For the Registration of Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA) in PM Wani Scheme applicants has to fill the online application form

The PM Wani Scheme Online Registration Form will appear as shown below-

PM Wani Scheme

PM WANI Scheme Features:

PM WANI (Wi-Fi Access Network Interface) aims to boost access to Wi-Fi across the country. Features of the PM WANI Scheme are as follows-

  • Public Data Office (PDO): Wi-Fi access points will be established, maintained, and operated only according to WANI standards, as well as broadband services for subscribers.  
  • Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA): PDO aggregation and the authorization and accounting functions will be performed by PDOA. 
  • App Provider: App provider will develop an App to allow users to register and find nearby Wi-Fi hotspots that are WANI-compliant and display them within the App to access internet service.
  • Central Registry: Central Registry will maintain the details of App Providers, PDOAs, and PDOs. The Central Registry will be maintained by C-DoT.

PM WANI Scheme Benefits:

  • PM WANI will connect a large number of new users with the commercial and entertainment, education, telehealth, and agriculture options.
  • The scheme would allow small shopkeepers to supply Wi-Fi service.
  • This scheme boosts the earnings of shopkeepers and also provides seamless internet connectivity to the youth.
  • PM WANI Scheme can also support the Digital India mission.
  • The scheme will make it easy even for a tea shop owner to register online as a service provider, opening up new income routes.
  • PM WANI can result in a rapid scale-up of the Internet in rural India, which will be transformative.
  • The WANI system offers a way forward to connect low revenue consumers.

PM WANI Scheme Objectives:

  • It is considered that the expansion of public Wi-Fi networks throughout the country will greatly increase internet access at cheap prices.
  • Improved Wi-Fi access will convey an improved grade of life, especially in an increasingly digital economy.
  • This scheme also helps to improve the ease of doing business, and thus potentially provides both employment opportunities and will increase income.
  • The decentralized nature of the WANI scheme allows access points to increase organically in places that need them the most.

Governmental and Policy Origins:

DoT’s National Digital Communications Policy, 2018Mentions the development of public Wi-Fi hotspots in rural and urban areas as a goal Mentions further liberalizing the spectrum sharing, leasing, and trading regime
TRAI’s Consultation Paper on Proliferation of Broadband through Public Wi-Fi NetworksLays down the core principles of an ‘unbundled and distributed model’ for public Wi-FI hotspots. Details the app-based hub framework that WANI has adopted

Issues Regarding PM WANI:

  1. Security Risks: A public WiFI network has many security issues because several people accessing the network at the same time on the same spot.
  2. Thus public Wi-Fi is at a high risk of sending out confidential data (like passwords, pins, etc.) over the network.
  3. Low Speed: Public WiFI network is can be accessed by several people at the same time, it resulting in a slow network speed.
  4. Cheap Mobile Data: As per TRAI in 2019, India now has among the cheapest mobile data per GB in the world, with mobile data prices have reduced by 95% in the last five years.

Way Forward:

  1.  The scheme must provide robust service, protection of data integrity, transparency on commercial use of data, and security against cyberattacks.
  2. PM WANI should ensure that public data is protected and safe.
  3. The government must also ensure true unbundling of hardware, software, apps, and payment gateways in the WANI system, as advocated by TRAI, to prevent trust.
  4. An increase in the competition will cause a low data speed issue.

Internet Access & the Digital Divide:

  • As of June 2020, the number of internet subscribers increased to 749.07 million, a 0.79% increase over the previous quarter, and a 4.2% increase over December 2019.
  • The number of urban and rural subscribers increased to 455.98 million and 293.09 million.
  • The number of rural subscribers, despite making up a significant majority of the population, is only 64% of the number of urban subscribers, with rural internet density only about a third of urban internet density.

Here, we cover a small piece of information about PM WANI Yojana. For the application process and to know more about the PM WANI Scheme and other government schemes you can visit the WANI Yojana Official Website. Stay tuned to get notified about the other Government schemes.