State owned telco BSNL will set up more than 1,000 WiFi hotspots in rural exchanges in Kerala circle in the next six months, reports PTI. These hotspots will be set up through financial support from Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF)—a government owned fund that that is exclusively meant for subsidizing telecom services. Each user will be able to consume up to 4GB a month. The telco claims that its WiFi service will be supported by 4G spectrum and also has a mobile app for the discovery of WiFi networks and authentication.
The Kerala state project by BSNL is a part of the telco’s original plan to install 25,000 new WiFi hotspots across rural areas in the country using money from USOF. This was announced in June. BSNL is eligible to secure funds of up to Rs 940 crore, which will be disbursed over a three-year period. In the first year, USOF will cover 100% cost incurred by BSNL for its WiFi project. In the second year, USOF will cover 75% cost and another 50% in the third year. Note that BSNL had received Rs 1250 crore in subsidy funds from USOF in September last year for its rural broadband service.