Public Wi-Fi now is seen as an important way to make fixed network internet access more widely available in India. As always, much will hinge on market dynamics. In many other markets where Wi-Fi offloading is prevalent, the offloading happens when consumers offload to their own personal internet services. In that sense, high use of Wi-Fi is dependent upon, and derivative of, widespread fixed network adoption.
Public Wi-Fi (mostly amenity services) also tend to get significant usage because access happens “at no incremental cost” (“free”). It remains unclear how demand will fare in India, if public Wi-Fi hotspot access is a “for-fee” service.
Ironically, high public Wi-Fi usage might be a derivative of already-existing supply of internet access at affordable rates. not a driver of new and affordable supply. So it remains to be seen how well the new push for public Wi-Fi succeeds.
It nearly always goes without saying that affordable prices are a key underpinning of widespread internet access on fixed or mobile networks, so it makes sense that regulators would note the correlation between affordability and usage.
Wi-Fi access, officials in India hope, can play an important role in fostering more widespread and low cost internet access, supplied by fixed networks.