Review Step 2c: Characteristics & Trade-offs

Wi-Fi Access Network

Box 3. Case study: Wi-Fi access network (India)

In India, Bluetown has reported operating as a managed hotspot service provider for rural areas in partnership with BSNL in Jharkhand, a state in eastern India. With backhaul from BSNL, Bluetown reports providing Wi-Fi hotspots in rural areas in over 782 remote locations across Jharkhand as part of an upgrade of service in locations that previously only had 2G access. The business model is based in part on the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India recommendation for an unregulated model, wherein an aggregator (Public Data Office Aggregator) can provide last-mile Wi-Fi infrastructure and small entrepreneurs set up Public Data Offices in local areas for customer access.

Source: direct contribution by Satya N. Gupta (Bluetown India)

The Public Data Office Aggregator will facilitate multiple Public Data Offices to provide public Wi-Fi services, without requiring a telecommunication licence, as they will work mainly as the reseller for ISPs.

Broadband is provided in such rural areas by a Managed Hotspot Service Provider (MHSP), which, working in partnership with telecommunications/ISP, installs equipment that will be managed by a Village-level Entrepreneur (VLE). The VLE, working as a franchisee of the MHSP, acts as single point of contact for all broadband-related products and services.

Currently, Bluetown offers the following plans:

Cost per GB: The average cost of broadband connectivity is working out at USD 1 per 30 GB i.e. USD 0.03 per GB