What is Public Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM-WANI)?

Context in Current Affairs: The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently approved the setting up of Wi-Fi Networks all over India. The Public Wi-Fi Access Network Interface is called PM-WANI. The PM-WANI will promote the growth of Wi-Fi networks in the country. This is expected to unleash a massive Wi-Fi revolution in the country. This is very much similar to that of the PCO model (PCO is Public Call Office).

What is the plan?

Around one crore data centres are to be set up to launch the massive Wi-Fi network. There will be no registration fee no license fee to set up the Wi-Fi network or the data centres. The Public Wi-Fi Networks are to be set up by Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs). The public Wi-Fi services are to be provided through Public Data Offices.

Key Features

  • The Public Data Office will maintain, establish and operate WANI compliant Wi-Fi Access points. These PDOs will deliver broadband services to subscribers.
  • The Public Data Office Aggregators are to perform the functions of accounting and authorisation.
  • The Application provider is to develop an app to register users. It will discover WANI compliant Wi-Fi hotspots in the nearby areas.
  • The Central Registry is to maintain details of PDOs, PDOAs. It will be maintained by C-DoT.
  • No registration is required for PDOAs or PDOs. The app providers will get themselves registered with DoT without registration fee. The registration shall be granted within seven days of application.

Benefits of PM-WANI

It will promote the growth of public Wi-Fi networks in the country. This will in turn help in proliferation of broadband internet, employment, enhancement of income and empowerment.


The National Digital Communication Policy, 2018 has set the target of reaching internet to 5 million people by 2020 and 10 million by 2022. India is way behind these targets. Therefore, it is essential to give a boost to the Wi-Fi programmes in the country.


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