Business Standard, June 14, 2023
While Wi-Fi penetration in Tier-I and Tier-II cities is considerably high at 74 per cent, many consumers are falling into a WiFi exclusion trap, a study by research and advocacy firm Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) has pointed out.
Calling the inability to benefit from a home Wi-Fi connection, due to cost, awareness and availability constraints as a WiFi exclusion trap, the study said many consumers had been unable to install WiFi as a result.
The study comes at a time when the government is deliberating on whether to reserve the 6 GHz spectrum band solely for mobile internet like 5G or for Wi-Fi use. It pointed out that of those who did not have a Wi-Fi connection at home, it was found that 63 percent wanted to explore the possibility of installing it.
“Although most families in rural areas had the first dimension of the digital divide, i.e. physical access to an internet-connected device, many family members, particularly women in the family did not have a material access to such devices. The study thereby recommends efforts to extract consumers from this trap,” the report said.
It also advocated for Wi-Fi at newer bands being made available. “It can help extract those in the trap by providing more public Wi-Fi access points, reliable and multiple connections with additional bandwidth and by leveraging potential for enhancement of income generation,” it said.
The study also found 49 percent consumers preferred 6 GHz over existing 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz, based on technical parameters of each band.
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