How to become an Internet Service Provider in India?

How to become an Internet service provider in India?

In this article we provide information on how to become an Internet service provider in India

Quick Summary

  1. Plan your business and network
  2. Research laws and apply for an ISP license
  3. Start evaluating for hardware/software vendors
  4. Get your ISP license approval from DoT
  5. Purchase hardware, software and bulk bandwidth
  6. Set up network infrastructure
  7. Start marketing with brochures, banners and free WiFi advertising
  8. Build customers; give them quality service and support
  9. Become an Internet Service Provider in India!

OR simply contact us and we shall help you get started!

[Note: If you wish to become a WISP – we recommend you to read this article: How to become a WISP in India?]

So, you want to become an Internet service provider in India? We’ll guide you with this tutorial. We have broken this guide into 3 sections:

  1. Legal Factors – The licenses required and guidelines to comply to become an Internet service provider in India.
  2. Business Factors – A section explaining infrastructure and start-up costs, marketing and sales strategy and support channels.
  3. Technical Factors – The technologies you need become an Internet service provider – Syslog server, data servers, Broadband / WiFi Management Software and user authentication systems.



There first thing you’re going to need is an ISP license to become an Internet service provider in India. This is issued by the Department of Telecom. There are 3 types of service areas under one Unified ISP license issued by the Department of Telecom in India. These licenses are allocated on the basis of service areas:

  • Service Area – Category A: This ISP license enables you to conduct business across ANY state/city in India.
  • Service Area – Category B: This ISP license enables you to conduct business in any of the twenty Territorial Telecom Circles and the four Metro Telephone Systems of Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai of the DoT.
  • Service Area – Category C: This includes any Secondary Switching Area (SSA) with their geographical boundaries defined by Depart of Telecom. The SSAs of each of the four Metro Telephone Systems of Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai and Telephone Systems of four major cities of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune with their geographical boundaries defined as on 1.4.1997, however, stand excluded from Category ‘C’ as they already form a separate Category ‘B’ Service Area.

You can learn more about how to apply for an ISP License by clicking here:




Where do you plan to provide the Internet service?

Have you considered a plan for monetization of the Internet service?

Have you considered the pricing plans you would like to offer to your end-users?

How many users do you expect to sign up for your Internet service in that area?

Do you have a business plan to become an Internet service provider?

How do you intend to provide support to your end-users?

These are some of the questions we plan to answer in this section of how to become an Internet service provider in India.

A. Plan your business

The first thing you’re going to need is a business plan. You can get a sample business plan by clicking here. This plan will answer most of your questions on how to start plan your ISP business.

B. Find your suppliers

The second thing you’re you going to need is find local suppliers of wholesale bandwidth. This requires a bit of local business intelligence. Find out who can provide you with a leased line in the area you wish to serve. You can buy wholesale bandwidth from more than one provider to ensure maximum up-time for your users.

C. Estimate your costs

The cost of raw bandwidth in India is very high. Once you have negotiated with your local supplier to purchase wholesale bandwidth, you need to start noting all your estimated costs:

  • Cost of Room / Area to keep data servers
  • Cost of Hardware / Software
  • Cost of Service
  • Cost of Marketing and Sales

D. Create pricing plan and monetization strategy

Once you have a basic understanding of your estimated costs, you need to start creating a pricing plan for broadband / WISP service. This pricing plan needs to be carefully thought through based on your estimated users and their demand for data.

E. Marketing Strategy

How do you plan to reach out to your customers? Many local ISPs in India use sales agents, brochures, bus depot advertisements and digital marketing (or WiFi Advertising) to reach out to their potential customers. Plan a clear marketing strategy.

F. Support Strategy

Think of a multichannel support strategy – Set up your call center, email ticket system and connect it with your billing management software etc. The key to starting a successful ISP business is having fantastic support.




The last thing and the perhaps the most important thing to consider is the technology that will power your Internet service provision company.

A. Method of Delivery

Ethernet – The first thing to consider here is method of delivery. You can choose to have lay your own leased line (fibre optic cables) or rent such lines from an existing company’s network. This method can be slightly more expensive the latter method.

WiFi – Alternatively, you can also choose to deliver your Internet service by creating a WiFi network. (Becoming Wireless Internet Service Provider). This method of delivery has lower quality of service than the former method.

B. Source of Delivery

Whether your method of delivery is Ethernet or WiFi; you will need to bring your purchased bulk bandwidth to a centralised location before you deliver it.

This location will contain your syslog server, user-data server, and deliveries/management server. You will also need to buy a broadband or WiFi management software to create user plans, track sites as per government laws for Internet provision in India.

Links for references:

  1. Top 5 WiFi Management Software
  2. How to become a WISP in India?

Note: At Muft Internet, we help people become Internet Service Providers in India. We are an ISP consultancy firm dedicated to help aspiring, small and mid-sized Internet service providers in India overcome their technical or legal roadblocks. We have worked on several low cost ISP setups for people who want to start their own ISP business.
Plan your own ISP/WISP business, apply for an ISP license, deploy your network or buy bulk bandwidth – our expert ISP consultants are here to help you.

Learn how you can become an Internet service provider and start your own WISP/ISP business with less than ₹ 8 lacs and within 120 days.

PR: The Muft Internet Research Study is out!










Masters of Science in Human Computer Interaction



Institute of Informatics

Tallinn University, Estonia




Supervised and approved by:


Professor David Lamas

Dr. Sonia Sousa



I would like to thank the existing members of the HCID and ICTD community and their continued efforts to bridge the digital divide.  This thesis would not be possible without the involvement of all the participant volunteers and their ideas, time and efforts.

A Special Thank You to the All the Key Enablers of the Design Project

For giving me crucial economic and financial insights with regards to ISP businesses in India and helping me create a business model for Muft WiFi.

Bharti Parekh (Business Modeling Expert and Chartered Account, ICAI India)

Nagin Parekh (Business Modeling Expert and Chartered Account, ICAI India)

Aditi Parekh (Consultant, Deloitte)

Hitesh Shah (Investment Expert, PPIC)

Ritesh Shah (Financial Analyst, ex-KMPG)

Neha Rambhia (Student, Harvard Business School)

Rajesh Shah (Entrepreneur, Mumbai Masala Café)

Siddharth Bharwani (COO, Jetking Infotrain)

Rashi Dhandia (MBA, Singapore Management University)

For giving me crucial insights on governmental efforts on bridging the digital divide, understanding government laws and regulations and national cyber security concerns.

Meenakshi Lekhi (Member of Parliament for Government of India)

Vijay Tribhuvan (Assistant commissioner, Mumbai Police)

Dilip Shah (Lawyer, Dilip Shah and Associates)

Akhil Gurwada (Lawyer, Mulla & Mulla & Craigie Blunt & Caroe)

For helping me understand wireless technologies, network architectures and developing the overall technical solutions required for this project.

Vipul Patel (Engineer, 3 Spin Creative Solutions)

Yatin Tribhuvan (Interaction Designer, Colorbud Studio)

Amit Goyal (Chief Engineer, Rirev)

Audrey Boullot (International Development (student), SciencePo Paris)

Mahendra Nagle (Freelance Network Architect)

Khwaja Umair (Human Computer Interaction (student), Tallinn University)

For giving me crucial insights on existing digital advertising and ad-market insights.

Preeti Vyas (Owner, VGC Interactive Designs)

Anushree Seth (Media Selling Expert, ex-Disney India)

Harshil Karia (Co-Founder, Foxymoron Digital Agency)

For their key volunteering efforts at different stages of the project:

Małgorzata Łuczkowska

Amey Tribhuvan

Mel Batson

Student volunteers from H.R College (RCHR Club)

Management Staff at Jetking Infotrain

Technical Staff at Realtel ISP

Technical Staff at Hathway ISP


Lastly, I would I like thank my supervisors Professor David Lamas and Dr. Sonia Sousa and my colleagues at Tallinn University’s Institute of Informatics for their constant support and guided expertise throughout this project.


This thesis is dedicated to 60% of the human race whose creativity we miss out on every single day simply because they lack Internet access.


In the past couple of decades we have seen a sharp rise in Internet usage, data consumption and the overall number of Internet users. With the rise of broadband connectivity, mobile Internet, mobile applications and overall web utility through localized content and services; we have been able to observe many positive effects of Internet access. Many Human Computer Interaction and Development (HCID) and Information and Communication Technology and Development (ICTD) studies in this time have demonstrated how countries with higher Internet penetration and adoption enjoy better economic growth, improved educational systems, more democratic participation and overall enhancement in various Quality of Life (QOL) indicators.

As of 2014, the sad truth remains that over half of the human population is deprived of basic Internet access. Most of these people live in developing or poor countries. This reflects a deep gap between technology creators’ / designers’, policy makers’ and industry’s understanding/involvement of the end users. The problems lie beyond an individual’s conventional understanding like hardware availability, user literacy or network coverage.
Complex and intertwined sociotechnical roadblocks play a key role in curbing Internet penetration and adoption in many countries that face a huge digital divide. However, one common pattern can be spotted among such countries – ‘affordability’. Even with the sharp decline in prices of Internet enabled mobile devices and data plans over the past decade, quality Internet access still remains expensive or unaffordable to many.

The study was conducted in India with the goal of overcoming various legal, economic and technological barriers to ‘enable free Internet access’ for users. In this study, we try to address the problem of ‘affordability’ in Internet access for existing Internet users in India that own an Internet enabled mobile device but cannot afford to pay for mobile Internet packages. Using a Participatory Design approach and a Double Diamond design process, an economically sustainable and technologically scalable ‘free Wi-Fi Zone’ model was designed and prototyped in this study.

This research study aims to provide valuable insights to various research organizations, governmental bodies, Internet service providers, hardware/software companies and other agents working in the ICTD space and trying to bridge the digital divide.



Internet connection @ Rs 10 per month starting this year! @narendramodi’s #digitalindia dream coming true!

“For as little as Rs 500 (appx. 9Euros) a month, Muft Internet will provide 50 people with Internet connection for 30 days.”

“That’s an Internet bill of RS.10 (appx. 10 cents) per person per month.”

“It will be possible to bring free wifi at almost every chai stall”

These claims have not been made by marketers. They have been made by Human Computer Interaction scientists, ex-IITians and investors.

Over the past 12 months, university students from 8 different countries have been working on a join research with it’s central topic as

“How do we bring more people from developing countries online?”

1 billion in India have never been online. India is one of the top IT exporters in the world yet it has one of the lowest internet users per capita.

Muft Internet - What is Muft Internet - Introduction to the Muft Internet Project (14)

This is when everyone started on a concept together. It’s now called MUFT WiFi hotspots.

MUFT WiFi hotspots – A free internet (WiFi) access point system that works with any ISP and can be used by EVERYONE for FREE INTERNET!

These hotspots will be available to public spaces for everyone to use. Advertisers can adopt a spot for as little as Rs. 10 per user per month.

They argue that their uniqueness lies in their break through technology and alternate pricing system.

Take a look at the price plan. It’s unique and doesn’t follow conventional ISP complexity.


It’s still unclear about which places will be the first to get MUFT WiFi. It would definitely take time to bring the remaining 85% of India online.

Check out the Muft WiFi hotspot page!


[Tweet “Internet connection @ Rs 10 per month starting this year! @narendramodi’s #digitalindia dream coming true!”]

How To: Create a public hotspot and offer free WiFi

We show you how to set up and operate a wi-fi service for friends and customers.
Public Wi-Fi is something people are coming to expect. Cafés and restaurants offer wireless internet access for customers; offices provide a connection for visitors, so that guests can check their email while they’re on-site.

If you manage IT for any business, it’s worth considering running your own hotspot – either as a commercial venture, which people pay to use, or as a complimentary service to visitors. Even within your own home, hosting a hotspot can be a useful service for neighbours and guests. There are, however, numerous technical and legal issues to consider.

Don’t use an open network
The simplest way to share an internet connection with the world at large is to make your existing wireless network unsecured, so that any device within range can connect. There’s a certain seductive simplicity to this approach – but it carries risks. Anyone who connects will be able to access not only your internet connection, but other networked resources such as shared drives.

This means you’re effectively throwing your privacy out of the window, so it isn’t something we’d recommend for individuals, much less for businesses. Even if you don’t have shared resources, allowing anonymous outsiders to connect to your primary network gives them a perfect opportunity to try out exploits and compromises. Remember, too, that Wi-Fi passes through walls, so even if you allow only trusted visitors onto your premises, you could be hacked by someone standing outside on the pavement. Since all network traffic on an open wireless network is unencrypted, it’s even possible for your online activity to be intercepted and spied on in real time. If you’re a business that holds confidential information, you could be sued for failing to protect your customers’ data.

In all cases, it’s a good idea to minimise your chances of falling foul by using a firewall and filtering software (or hardware) to block common methods of copyright infringement, as well as potentially obscene content. Even once you’ve taken this precaution, though, running an open network isn’t something we can recommend.

Guest network
A safer way to share your connection is by creating a guest network – that is, setting up a new wireless network, separate from your main LAN, which allows visitors to access your internet connection but nothing else. This is an approach typically used by large organisations, but it’s also supported by many routers that are designed for home or small-business use (sometimes implemented by allowing you to specify a secondary SSID, in addition to your main wireless address).

So long as the resources on your primary network are properly protected and isolated, this approach gives would-be attackers very little scope to harm your business or compromise your privacy. Use WPA2 encryption on your guest network and opportunists won’t even be able to connect in the first place – although this does introduce an administrative overhead, since you’ll need a way of communicating the passphrase to legitimate visitors. If you plan to take this route, consider investing in a router that allows you to manage access remotely: some recent models we’ve seen come with control apps for Android and iOS that let you grant guest access from a smartphone or tablet.

Running a guest network still isn’t an ideal way to share a connection with the wider world. The same contractual issues will apply as with an open network – and since there’s no real user management, if you do find yourself on the wrong end of a police investigation, you may find it difficult to show who the guilty party really was. Depending on your router, you may lack other useful management features, such as bandwidth control – to prevent heavy users saturating your internet connection, and leaving those on your private network crawling along. You’ll also have no way to charge users for the service, which for many businesses wholly defeats the purpose of running a hotspot.

Hotspot hardware
If you want more features than a regular router can offer, your best bet is to use a dedicated hotspot gateway to manage access to your connection. This doesn’t need to be a complicated piece of kit, and you don’t need a certified network engineer to set it up and maintain it. At its simplest, all the gateway has to do is host a wireless network, and present a login page – a “captive portal” in the industry jargon – that requires visitors to accept your terms of service and optionally make a payment (or provide proof of pre-payment) before they’re allowed online. If your service is time-limited, then the gateway should also kick people off the network when their access expires.

There are a few manufacturers who provide turnkey devices that will handle all of this for you. ZyXEL’s N4100 has been kicking around for a few years now – we reviewed it back in 2010 – but it’s still perfectly up to the job. Hook it up to your LAN and it will serve up a customisable captive portal with full bandwidth control and access management. It costs around $500, and can be expanded with an optional thermal printer for churning out logon codes, so that customers can pay for access at a kiosk, then log in at their leisure.

If your needs are more ambitious, the 4ipnet HSG260-WTG2 Wi-Fi Hotspot Kit 2 includes not only a wireless thermal printer but also a wireless keypad – so you can sell login codes from all sorts of locations, with no need for a dedicated PC to manage network access. The back-end also integrates with various online payment gateways, making it easy to set up a credit-card-based charging mechanism. That means less administration for you, and it allows people to connect from anywhere within range at any time – even in the middle of the night, or from a different building. It is a bit hard to locate, and the Hotspot Kit 2 may be a bit pricey for a small business, but it makes it extremely simple to set up and manage a professional-class hotspot.

Hotspot firmware and software
Dedicated hardware makes life easy, but it isn’t wholly necessary. The services provided by a hotspot gateway aren’t technically demanding, and it’s perfectly possible to run them on a regular domestic router – so long as you don’t mind a bit of firmware flashing. The open-source DD-WRT firmware supports the free ChilliSpot hotspot service, and can be flashed onto a range of routers from Buffalo, D-Link, Linksys, Netgear and others. Another open-source option is CoovaAP, using the CoovaChilli service, which, unlike ChilliSpot, is still under active development.

This approach certainly saves money, but the perennial danger of investing in community-run projects is that if you run into problems, you’ll have to rely on the community for support. We’d think twice before taking this approach for a wireless hotspot that was integral to a business.
A possible compromise is to use commercially supported firmware: the free Sveasoft firmware, for example, comes with optional paid support. If you’re looking for a more complete service, one popular choice is Install the company’s firmware on your router – or buy a router with the firmware preinstalled, via the website – and you get a fully supported hotspot, with access to the provider’s back-end for credit card purchases. This is terrifically simple for you, but it comes at a price: the operator takes a 30% commission fee on each transaction, and pays your share one month in arrears.

Your legal obligations
If you’re operating a small home or office network where access is granted only at your discretion, you have no particular legal obligations, beyond those that might arise from infringing or illegal uses of your connection.

via How to: Set up your own wireless hotspot – PC & Tech Authority.

How To: Set up Wifi for your Cafe Customers

Today’s customers don’t give praise when businesses offer WiFi, rather they have come to expect it. From your home to your bus to your dentist to your favorite café, WiFi is everywhere. And it’s usually free. Offering a WiFi hotspot to customers can help build loyalty and boost sales, but if it’s not done correctly, it can actually backfire. Let’s run through a few things to consider when setting up a wireless internet connection for your customers.

Understanding Your Customers

The first thing you will need to do is consider your customers. Who are they and how will they be using your wireless hotspot? How many people will access the network at the same time? How long will they be connected? Will they quickly check email while waiting in line or sit down and steam videos? Answering these questions will help guide you to the right equipment and service package that you’ll need to offer a reliable connection.

Getting the Right Equipment and Service Package

Having the right equipment is critical. We have all been at hotels or airports that advertise free WiFi, but when you attempt to use it, it’s so slow that it’s essentially useless. This poor performance can come from low quality hardware or a lack of bandwidth from your internet provider.

First, the hardware. If you don’t have internet in your store today, you will need a modem and a wireless router. While consumer models will often work fine for most small businesses, depending on the size of your store, I would recommend getting a premium model router that can handle more users at the same time. Ideally you will want to purchase a wireless router that is built to accommodate guest access. This will create a separate WiFi signal for public access, so your private network remains secure. Higher-end models offer the ability to set up a captive portal, which requires your users to agree to a Terms of Service before logging on to your internet. This can legally protect you and your business as well as help filter content (adult content, gambling, etc.) and manage bandwidth usage of your guests (limit video streaming).

Next, the internet service package. There are a number of national as well as local internet providers and the price and service quality varies drastically by location. The service you need depends on your expected customer usage. Let your provider know the expected type and number of users for your business and they will make sure you get the right package.

Securing Your Network

Offering a WiFi hotspot to customers does add a few complications to your store’s network that you should be aware of.

While it seems simple to just let customers use the existing WiFi that your business uses, this isn’t secure and it increases the risk of hacking and data theft from your company. Don’t do it. If you’re on a budget and already have a network setup, then at a minimum you should set up a guest network and encrypt your network with WiFi Protected Access (WPA) or WiFi Protected Access II (WPA2), which are security protocols designed to protect wireless computer networks. To add additional security, you can turn off the ‘SSID broadcast’ on your private WiFi network so your visitors won’t even see it show up on their ‘available networks’ screen. If you go this route, I would strongly recommend getting an expert to test your network to make sure it is as secure as possible.  It’s a small price to pay to avoid any potential data theft down the road. Additionally, if you’re providing WiFi on the same network that powers your point-of-sale system, make sure that you know how to get back up and running quickly if you experience a blackout or glitch.

As a best practice, I recommend setting up a separate wireless access point for dedicated customer use. This is the most secure option and will keep your private business information safe from anyone using your public WiFi hotspot. For either scenario, you can find affordable local support that can help set up your network and test your security features.

via Best Practices For Setting Up A Small Business WiFi Hotspot.

User Goals - what kind of Internet does India want

Defining User Goals: What kind of Internet does young #digitalindia want?

It’s important for policy makers and corporates to understand what of kind Internet does India want. Our corporate ISP and government policies are far below our expectations.

We recently conducted a small survey of 50 participants and asked them the various problems they face with their internet connection. After getting their answers we invited the participants to a Co-Design workshop where by we asked them one simple underlying question:

What kind of internet connection would do you want for India?

We got a variety of different responses in our workshop. As we categorized the responses, we collectively defined the following user goals:

Free / Affordable

In an ideal world, information access should be free. For now, let’s stick to affordable.

Always Online

We should be connected 24*7. No breakage of service of experiencing downtime.

Unlimited Access

ISPs shouldn’t set restrictions on how much information we consume. Remove limits on data downloads/uploads.

Fast Speed

We should aim to have to fastest internet connections. We should not have to wait for our information.

Cross-Platform Connectivity

No separate subscriptions for tablets, PC, mobile etc. One connection for all devices.

Seamless/Ubiquitous Access

Information access at any time and anywhere in the country.

Zero Censorship

An uncensored  internet free from government, political and corporate interference.

Ease of Access

Quick connectivity and ease of access for all sections of differently abled members of society.

Data Protection

Our personal data should be secure and protected from theft, marketers etc.

User Privacy

No logs or tracking systems that enable government or corporates spying

Are you a restaurant, bar or cafe owner in Mumbai? First 100 sign-ups will get Muft Internet!

Would you like to increase your customer base by proving free wifi at your bar, cafe or restaurant?
We are looking for public places where we can to test out our technology.

Dear Bar/Restaurant/Cafe Owners in Mumbai,
We are trying to scout out locations as to where we could test out our technology. We are looking at densely populated public spots. The internet service + the hardware will be paid by us. All you have to do is sit back, relax and let your customer enjoy free internet! Sign up now and our researchers will contact you!

[contact-form-7 id=”208″ title=”cafe/business/restaurant owner”]

What happens when everyone becomes a cellphone zombie?

As HCI researchers, a lot of us believe that computing should exist and not computers.

“Technologies have a life cycle, says Donald A. Norman, and they must change as they pass from youth to maturity. Alas, the computer industry thinks it is still in its rebellious teenage years, exalting in technical complexity. Customers want change. They are ready for products that offer convenience, ease of use, and pleasure. The technology should be invisible, hidden from sight.

In this book Norman shows why the computer is so difficult to use and why this complexity is fundamental to its nature. The only answer is to develop information appliances that fit people’s needs and lives. To do this, companies have to change the way they develop products. They need to start with an understanding of people: user needs first, technology last—the opposite of how things are done now”
The Invisible Computer | The MIT Press.