Broadband India Forum signs MoU with WBA to expand NextGen Wireless Ecosystem

Broadband India Forum (BIF) and Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) concluded their inaugural event on “Wi-Fi and Delicensing of 6GHz – The Driving Force of Broadband for All” on April 11, 2023 at Le Meridian Hotel, Delhi.

The event jointly focused on the importance of the globally harmonised unlicensed 6Ghz spectrum band and the benefits it brings by addressing the Digital Divide, make spectrum available for next generation. Wi-Fi products based on standardised IEEE 802.11 technologies viz, Wi-Fi6E and Wi-Fi 7, accelerate technology innovations including new applications like AR/VR, Holographic & Haptic systems.

The event brought together policymakers, industry leaders, subject matter experts, and other stakeholders to discuss and deliberate on aspects around how latest Wi-Fi technologies viz. Wi-Fi6E (and upcoming Wi-Fi 7) that work exclusively in the delicensed 6Ghz spectrum band can help complement 5G and thereby help bridge the connectivity gap besides spurring new innovations and research & development of new applications & services.

India urgently needs the 6GHz spectrum to be opened up for Wi-Fi to achieve its broadband goals as well as meeting the growth opportunities for business and societal needs, as has already been agreed in over 50 countries worldwide.

The event also focused on how next gen Wi-Fi technologies, riding on the delicensed 6Ghz spectrum band, could help provide ultra-high-speed and low latency connectivity to every nook and corner of the country, thereby complementing 5G in places where conventional tower and fiber infrastructure deployment may either not be feasible or cost effective.

There was a dedicated session on Public Wi-Fi Roaming. Two different standards & approaches were discussed & deliberated upon viz The Global ‘OpenRoaming‘ standard as well as our homegrown PM-WANI Roaming. The event also featured a live demo of both PM-WANI Roaming and OpenRoaming TM/, which drew a lot of appreciation from the policy makers, and other delegates. The PM-WANI Roaming was developed to provide easy and seamless roaming of users as they move from one PDOA to another PDOA without having to re-authenticate and revalidate their payment wallets every time. OpenRoaming is an initiative by the WBA that allows for automatic seamless and secure Wi-Fi roaming across different networks, platforms, and providers with the ability to rapidly scale.

During the event, BIF and WBA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand the NextGen Wireless Ecosystem together in a collaborative manner.

Commenting on the significance about the event, BIF Chairperson Smt. Aruna Sundararajan stated “Given that Public Wi-Fi is the way to go to accelerate Broadband penetration across the country, liberalisation of Public Wi-Fi through the PM-WANI scheme is one of the important steps to help achieve the Government of India’s vision of Digital India and to attain the objectives of providing ‘Broadband for all’.

Mr. T V Ramachandran, President, Broadband India Forum said “BIF has conducted a very exhaustive study for co-existence in the 6GHz band based on actual data, which has conclusively proved that Wi-Fi can co-exist with incumbent users of Fixed Services (FS) and Fixed Satellite Services (FSS) in the band.

Mr. Tiago Rodrigues, Chief Executive Officer at Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), added “We are delighted to announce this partnership with Broadband India Forum. Extending the work of Wireless Broadband Alliance and leveraging the latest Wi-Fi capabilities to enable long-term sustainable wireless broadband solutions for India”

Broadband India Forum (BIF) is an independent policy forum and knowledge-based think-tank that works for the development and enhancement of the entire broadband ecosystem in a holistic, technology-neutral and service-neutral manner. BIF has established itself as a thought leader and a credible and effective voice, to help propel the nation to achieve the country’s ambitious vision of creating a Digital India. To achieve this, BIF works to promote the rapid development of policies, so as to facilitate affordable and high-speed ubiquitous broadband throughout the country.