Trai backs open interfaces used in Aadhar, e-KYC, UPI for public WiFi
Trai has also sought industry views on whether public WiFi access providers must be allowed to resell capacity and bandwidth to retail users.
In a paper issued Tuesday, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has sought industry views on whether “national, open Application Programme Interfaces (APIs)” used in Aadhar, e-KYC and UPI initiatives can be leveraged for creating a unified authentication-cum-payments infrastructure mechanism for public WiFi networks.
“Authentication and payment mechanisms that now exist for accessing public WiFi networks are tedious and cumbersome,” Trai said in its discussion paper. It said that these mechanisms are also not scalable and inter-operable in the absence of a single standard.
Trai has also sought industry views on whether public WiFi access providers must be allowed to resell capacity and bandwidth to retail users. It has also sought their feedback on whether “light touch regulation” using methods like “registration” would be preferred to “licensing” towards this endeavour.
The sector regulator has also sought comments on a possible cost and revenue sharing roadmap for all entities, typically in a public WiFi value chain. It has also invited comments on whether regulatory intervention is necessary in this context, or whether the matter should be left to “forbearance and individual contracting”.
The regulator has sought comments on the consultation note by November 25.
Back in July, Trai had floated a related consultation paper that built a strong case for boosting broadband availability through
deployment of affordable Wi-Fi networks in public places, on grounds that data tariffs on such networks would be delivered at a fraction of prevailing data tariffs on 2G, 3G, 4G mobile networks.
That discussion paper had provoked newest 4G operator, Reliance Jio Infocomm and the Big 3 of Indian Telecom -- Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular – to take strongly conflicting positions on boosting broadband penetration through low-cost WiFi in public places.
So much so, Jio and the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) -- representing Airtel, Vodafone and Idea – had differed on a host of issues, including the core objectives of WiFi technology and the need to delicence more spectrum for WiFi services.
Jio’s aggressive backing of public WiFi stems from the technology being integral to its overall 4G data strategy, in that, all Jio
tariff plans offer generous doses of data over a local WiFi hotspot.