India’s new ‘free internet’ will require more than 100,000 hotspots, government says


NEW DELHI: India’s telecom regulator has proposed a new system to address a growing number of complaints of users abusing its Internet of Things (IoT) feature.

The National Broadband Network (NBN) regulator has given a draft order that would require a maximum of 100,00 hotspots across the country for the system to function effectively, the Economic Times reported Thursday.

The hotspot system, called “Free Wi-Fi” or FWW, will require users to pay a fixed monthly fee to access internet.

The NBN said the network would be a voluntary initiative and the regulator could waive the fees, the paper said.

The regulator said in the draft order: “There are also instances where a user has not provided their mobile phone number or mobile number/number/number of the Wi-fi router for the device to connect to the Internet.”

Therefore, there are also a few cases where a router cannot be connected to the network.

“The draft order comes in the wake of a report by the National Broadbands Network (NBN) in April that found a record number of consumers and businesses were being hit by data caps in India.

It said data usage in India was at its highest since 2014, with data caps of more than 10 gigabytes per month and high roaming charges.

India has seen several protests over the issue, including a nationwide walkout by telecom users last month that ended with about 1.7 million people taking to the streets of several cities.