Internet Current Affairs

TRAI proposes Wi-Fi grid to bring down cost of internet by 90%

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has proposed concept of open architecture-based public Wi-Fi grid to bring down the cost of internet by 90%. It is much needed as broadband proliferation across country is important pillar of Digital India and Wi-Fi serves as cheapest option given low cost of equipment and free spectrum.

Key Facts

The Wi-Fi grid or mesh proposed by TRAI entails various providers coming together to address aspects like services, access, payment, and authentication. Its recommendations are backed by findings of pilot project conducted by regulator. TRAI’s pilot and trials were aimed at demonstrating proof of concept of such architecture. It has suggested that any entity – company, proprietorship or non-entities – should easily be able to set up a public Wi-Fi access point.

Significance

The latest recommendations of TRAI follow BharatNet project being pursued by Central government that intends to provde Wi-Fi services to village panchayats across the country. Government has completed its first phase and expects the project to be completed by 2019.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)

TRAI is an independent regulator of telecommunications business in India. It was established in 1997 through Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997. TRAI also fixes or revises the tariffs for telecom services in India. TRAI also fixes or revises the tariffs for telecom services in India.

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Inclusive Internet Index 2018: India ranks 47th

India was ranked 47th out of 86 countries in Inclusive Internet Index (III) 2018 report. India has slipped by 11 positions compared to 36th rank in 2017 III report due to low internet usage and poor quality.

The report was commissioned by Facebook in 2017 and is conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). It provides rigorous benchmark of national-level Internet inclusion across four categories: Availability, Affordability, Relevance and Readiness. 2018 edition of report has covered 91% of the world’s population and expanded data set of 86 countries, up from 75 countries in 2017.

Key Highlights of 2018 III report

India was ranked 62nd in Availability, 39th in Affordability, 37th in Relevance and 23rd in Readiness categories. Singapore, Canada, Poland and Malaysia have topped in respective categories.

Internet connectivity: It has grown by 8.3% over past year and has shown 65.1% increase in low-income countries with largest year-on-year increases in Rwanda (490.8%), Nepal (138.1%) and Tanzania (87.8%).

Mobile Internet gap: It is shrinking between rich and poor. In low-income countries, average cost of 500 MB mobile broadband connection fell from 12.1% of monthly income in 2017 to 10.0% in 2018, a 17.3% cost reduction.

Gender gap in Internet inclusion: It is still far too pervasive. In 69 out of 86 countries, more men have access to internet than women. On average across indexed countries, men are 33.5% more likely to have Internet access than women. This gap is substantially more pronounced in lower-income countries.

Empowerment: Use of internet is empowering, especially to citizens in Asia, Middle East and Africa. Privacy and security concerns have limited the use of the Internet especially in Europe.

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