The government of Tamil Nadu has commenced feasibility study to provide Wi-Fi connections at nominal rates to residents who live within a 200 meter radius near ration shops. To this end, a team of officials under the Joint Registrars of cooperation is conducting feasibility study to convert ration shops into data centres.

The initiative is in line with the Prime Minister’s Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM- WANI) Scheme which envisages to convert ration shops into data centres to provide affordable internet connections to the general public. The scope of the feasibility study includes assessing the availability of space in the ration shops, the location of these shops, ownership of the shops, the quality of internet service at the shops, etc.

However, the central government is yet to provide information regarding the tariff rates and other technical specifications of the project. According to information available from the state civil supplies department, Tamil Nadu has 35,323 fair price shops of which 10,279 are part-time shops. The Union government guidelines state that the earnings generated through Wi-Fi hotspots will be credited to the accounts of the ration shops or the cooperative society that runs these shops. With the presence of ration shops in hilly terrains and remote areas, the people living in these areas will be benefitted from the Wi-Fi hotspots.