Government plans to roll out 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots by December next year

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The telecom industry will roll out one-million Wi-Fi hotspots in the country by December next year, which is another step towards the digital empowerment of the nation, the government said.

Commenting on the sidelines of the India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2018 here, Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha told that Bharat Wi-Fi, a country-wide common inter-operable platform of one million Wi-Fi hotspots, owned and operated by telecom service providers, Internet service providers and virtual network operators (VNOs) will be rolled out across the country.

By this initiative consumers will have access to the Wi-Fi hotspots of any of the partnering operators.

Frequency allocation plan

The National Frequency Allocation Plan 2018 (NFAP), a roadmap for the Indian digital communications industry, was also unveiled during the inauguration. The NFAP released a quantum of 605 MHz license exempt spectrum in 5GHz band for Wireless Access Services and Radio Local Area Networks in outdoor, to meet the ever-growing appetite for data (from a current figure of 50 MHz since 2007).

The NFAP also offered over 30 license exempt bands for Short Range Devices (SRDs), Ultra-Wideband Devices (UWDs) and additional spectrum for M2M services, creating opportunities for the public to enjoy benefits from technologies and enabling the industry to build domestic manufacturing ecosystem. “NFAP will allow ease of doing business and Wi-Fi hotspots will help all the gram panchayats and villages to connect, which will be important for the digital inclusion in the country,” Sinha said.

Boosting SMEs

In a major policy initiative, which will give impetus to small and medium entrepreneurship in telecom sector, the Department of Telecom (DoT) also decided to deduct payments for resources taken by VNOs from telecom service providers, thereby reducing levies payable by VNOs.

This avoids double taxation at various stages, he said.

The day one of the IMC 2018 also witnessed many announcements by the industry and demos of modern 5G applications by global manufacturers. Investments of over ₹2,000 crore and over three lakh jobs are expected to be created.

For instance, there were ‘Live’ 5G demos showcased by Samsung and Reliance Jio of Skyship Drone for applications in public safety and surveillance, agriculture monitoring and disaster response; Ericsson and Airtel of Drone flying on 5G for mission critical applications, disaster management, emergency deliveries, medicine and remote surveillance.

Nokia also announced of its manufacturing unit in Chennai, which will start large scale making of 5G new radio enabling made in India for the world.

“It is the second edition of the IMC in India and there is a huge participation from the world over. There were 10 countries last year, which has now doubled this time and there were 2,500 delegates which also has doubled in IMC 2018,” Sinha said.

 

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