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India

Mass computing’s next big thing runs into an archaic law that bans outdoor use of Wi-Fi

Thakkar

RESHMA PATIL & PRAGYA SINGH
Posted online: Sunday, February 06, 2005 at 0154 hours IST
Indian Express

MUMBAI, NEW DELHI, FEB 5: When tech entrepreneur Jayesh Thakkar geared to connect computers—without wires—20 km away in two Vadodara offices, his corporate client first applied for a licence. They have been waiting for a year. At Mumbai, a construction giant is waiting since nine months for permission to wirelessly connect offices in two suburbs. [...]
‘‘Most big corporates stay away from outdoor WiFi use because licences are cumbersome and bureaucratic,’’ says Thakkar, director, JayRaj Exim, a company WiFi-enabling offices in Mumbai. ‘‘By the time a licence arrives, what if the technology is outdated?’’ [...]
Many WiFi believers who appealed long and hard to free WiFi from regulations so telecom and Internet services reach rural India—at a fraction of usual costs—are disappointed though the government has been steadily freeing WiFi licensing restrictions since 2002. ‘‘The government agreed, in principle, to delicence low-power outdoor use of WiFi in December, but where is the notification to make this official?’’ says Arun Mehta, cyber rights activist and telecom consultant. When contacted, a ministry official said that spectrum availability is the real problem. ‘‘As and when more spectrum is available, we’ll be able to give out more frequencies. Till then, WiFi will have to be restricted to ‘confined areas’,’’ he said. Officially permitted outdoor use would take WiFi to rural India, where it is needed most. Potential applications include telemedicine, long-distance education and networked community portals. [...]

What we need is WiFi in the community, Mehta maintains. ‘‘Why is it taking so long to free people to place their WiFi antennae? This would create a network of towers providing Internet access at zero cost.’’[...]

3 Comments to India

  1. Aruna's Gravatar Aruna
    February 18, 2005 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Hi,

    It is the same in Sri Lanka.
    Unfortunately it is the bungling of the Free Brand ( 2.4GHZ) band being allocated on a FEE !
    It is also rumored that the responsible person has even found employment in one of the organisations which he gave licences for !!!

    REGULATORY AUHORITY IN SL HAS MADE THEM SELVES JOKERS OF THE PACK.

  2. samarajiva's Gravatar samarajiva
    February 20, 2005 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    A discussion of the WiFi situation in Sri Lanka may be found at http://www.trc.gov.lk/pdf/Options%20for%20the%20use%20of%20WiFi%20-%20Final%20qa0162.pdf

  3. goswami's Gravatar goswami
    December 3, 2005 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    WiFi growth in india is measured by number of laptops sold that are WiFi enabled rather than the actual area covered by WiFi or number of hotspots. Furthermore, existing regulation make it impossible to mobilize Wimax like technology whenever it is made available despite the hype in the Indian Express story below.

    http://www.expresscomputeronline.com/20051128/wireless01.shtml

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