COAI Says TRAI’s Public WiFi Model Is A National Security Threat; Wants It Abolished!

This is the second such protest letter sent in a month against TRAI's public WiFi model.

TRAI's public WiFi is in danger?
TRAI’s public WiFi is in danger?

Cellular Operators Association of India or COAI has once again launched a massive attack on the public WiFi model which has been suggested by TRAI, and approved by the Govt.

COAI has sent a letter to the PM office this time, describing the WiFi model as a national security threat.

Has Jio and BSNL too joined the protest this time?

COAI: Public Wifi Is A National Security Risk!

Last month, COAI had formally complained to DoT regarding TRAI’s recommendations for public WiFi model.

And now again, the complaint has been raised, albeit in more serious tone.

As per the letter shot off to the PMO, TRAI’s public wifi model is a national security risk, and should be immediately terminated.

COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews said, “…Additionally, we believe it will seriously compromise national security.”

TRAI’s suggestion regarding involvement of private players in distributing last mile Internet connectivity has been approved by the Govt., and the work has already started to implement it.

$100 billion investment has been suggested for the same.

As per COAI, this model will has several disadvantages, and National Security is one of the prominent ones.

COAI is stating that if private players are allowed to distribute Internet in this manner, via WiFi, then it will result in severe financial loss to the existing telcos, who have paid billions of dollars in license fees.

The letter said, “..the proposal to sell internet services without a licence will be a complete bypass of present licencing framework, detrimental to massive investments already made in spectrum, telecom infrastructure and services,”

As per the plan by TRAI, ‘public data offices’ (PDO) will be authorized to sell data packs as low as Rs 2.

COAI says that this will violate provisions of Telegraph Act as well, which mandates that only license holders should be allowed to provide Internet access.

Will Jio, BSNL Too Join The Protest?

Now, this is indeed a dicey situation here.

Both Jio and BSNL has announced their plans to offer Voice over WiFi service, which allows their users to make voice calls using any available WiFi.

TRAI’s public WiFi model is a very important pillar for rolling out this Voice over WiFi service, and if this is stopped, then Jio and BSNL won’t be able to offer this service.

Although all telecom operators are part of COAI, Jio’s vision has often resulted in friction between them and COAI: Last year, COAI had strongly objected to Jio’s cashback offer, and as we have seen in the last, TRAI had to intervene to stop the escalation between COAI and Jio.

Jio’s Voice over Wifi is seen as a major disruption, which can alter the dynamics of telecom industry in near future, and with BSNL too offering this service, DoT and TRAI can be in a major fix over this issue.

We will keep you updated, as receive more updated.

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