Telecom operators will submit a new model by Monday for the rollout of 10 lakh public Wi-Fi hotspots after they rejected the plan suggested by TRAI, a top official said Friday. The Department of Telecom is discussing a middle path with the operators for rolling out public Wi-Fi services after they opposed the model recommended by the regulator TRAI, saying it will adversely impact the debt-ridden industry and compromise national security.
“Today telecom operators have given a presentation on technical architecture for public Wi-Fi model. They will submit the rollout model for 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots by Monday. They will roll out pilots after DoT accepts it,” Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan told PTI. Sundararajan said that the DoT will examine the model, security requirements etc before approving the operators’ version. A senior representative of a telecom operator, who did not wish to be identified, said that if DoT approves their model then 10 lakh Wi-Fi hotspots can be rolled out within a year.
Based on existing rules for cyber cafes, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had recommended that a new set of players to be called Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA) should be allowed to resell internet services through yesteryears PCOs type of set-up that will be called Public Data Offices. But, telecom operators had unanimously opposed the TRAI model which was also approved by the Telecom Commission.
Industry body COAI had argued that Internet services can be provided by a telecom licence holders only and the scope of PDOA recommended by TRAI is similar to that of internet service provider license holder. It had outlined that a licence is required even if the Internet services are provided to end customers using de-licensed spectrum band, however, no such condition has been imposed on unlicensed entities, who will make use of de-licensed bands of commercial purposes.