What is Prime Minister Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM-WANI) Scheme?

May 22, 2024

Public wifi hotspots under the Prime Minister Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM-WANI) scheme are nearing the 2-lakh mark in the country.

About PM-WANI Scheme:

  • It was launched by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) in December 2020 to provide affordable and high-speed internet connectivity to the public in rural and remote areas of the country. 
  • The scheme aims to establish a public Wi-Fi network across the country through the creation of Wi-Fi Access Points (WAPs) set up by public data offices (PDOs).
  • The WAPs will operate on an open-architecture system, allowing multiple service providers to offer their services to the public through a single platform. 
  • PM-WANI ecosystem: It consists of four parts: Public Data Office (PDO), Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA), App Provider, and Central Registry.
    • PDO establishes the Wi-Fi hotspots and provides internet access to users. There shall be no license required by PDOs from the DoT for providing broadband internet through these public Wi-Fi networks.
    • PDOA provides authorisation and accounting services to PDOs. PDOA provides user interface for the user to buy a plan and keep track of their data consumption. PDOA need not pay any license fees.
    • The small shopkeepers can become PDOs as last-mile access service providers and take services from PDOAs for Internet and backend services.
    • App Provider, who will develop an application to register users, and ‘discover’ and display PM-WANI Wi-Fi hotspots in proximity for accessing the internet service, and also authenticate the potential broadband users. Startups and wallet providers can become App Providers.
    • The central registry overseen by the Centre for Development of Telematics maintains details of App Providers, PDOs and PDOAs.
  • How can you access the PM-WANI internet?
    • To access public hotspots under the PM-WANI scheme, one needs to download a relevant app which shows the available networks.
    • The user can then choose from a list of available connections and make a payment to use the network.
    • The user can access the network till his/her balance is exhausted.