TRAI has announced a name and logo design contest to enable citizen participation into its ambitious vision for affordable broadband proliferation through public Wi-Fi networks.
This marks yet another instance of direct engagement with the public for designing of logos of key or flagship initiatives. The government has earlier chosen new sign of the rupee and the Swachh Bharat logo from public contests.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had come out with its recommendations on 'proliferation of broadband through public Wi-Fi networks' last year, to facilitate access to low cost internet services across the country.
The consultation process had explored issues like technical interoperability and seamless connectivity of Wi-Fi networks, innovative payment, commercialisation and monetisation models, and collaborative alliances between various players in the ecosystem.
It advocated an open architecture based Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (WANI).
Trai said "It is a uniquely designed Indian model to provide reliable internet service that is also interoperable, easily discoverable, and will extend benefits of existing schemes of the government like BharatNet, BHIM, Jan Dhan Yojna".
The locations or establishments where the Wi-Fi access point will be installed, is for now termed "Public Data Office (PDO)", Trai said asking applicants to suggest a better alternative name to entity and also design a logo for the WiFi hotspot of WANI compliant networks.
"Name and logo suggestion contest for Wi-Fi hotspots of WANI compliant networks is an initiative of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to make the citizens participate in this developmental process," a statement said adding that entries should be sent by July 2.
It has announced a cash award of Rs 50,000 each for selected winner of "Name" as well as "Logo".
Admitting that India significantly trails other nations in providing access to broadband, especially in rural areas, Trai has in the past underscored the need for ushering a new set of small players for Wi-Fi service provisioning.
It mooted an ambitious model of a public Wi-Fi grid that aims to slash internet access cost by 90 per cent, and push broadband reach in India.
The grid or the mesh conceptualised by Trai entails multiple providers coming together on one platform to address aspects like access, services, payment and authentication.
Trai's concept involves Public Data Office Providers (PDOs) - much like PCOs of yesteryears that galvanised connectivity. The PDOs will be companies, or even small merchants, interested in providing Wi-Fi hotspots to public using either free or paid model.
In April this year, Trai chairman R S Sharma had presented a report on 'public Wi-Fi open pilot project' to Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha, outlining the success of the first phase of trials that the regulator had conduced.