Published: Sat, May 06, 2017
Industry | By Faith Ward

Facebook Launches Express WiFi In India, Partners Airtel For 20000 WiFi Hotspots

Facebook Launches Express WiFi In India, Partners Airtel For 20000 WiFi Hotspots

The company stated that it started testing Express Wi-Fi in India in 2015 and began working with internet services providers (ISPs) and is now commercially available through almost 700 hotspots across the four Indian states of Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Meghalaya. Facebook has also announced that they are partnering with Airtel tp launch 20,000 new Express Wi-Fi by Facebook hotspots in "over the next few months".

Apart from Airtel, Facebook has also partnered with ISPs like AirJaldi in Uttarakhand, Tikona in Gujarat, LMES in Rajasthan and Shaildhar in Meghalaya.

Signing up with Express Wi-Fi retailers, the customers can access the Wi-Fi network. For who don't know, it is an initiative part of Internet.org. Users can access the internet using the Express Wi-Fi at an affordable price. "They are providing 700 hotspots through 500 local entrepreneurs", said Munish Seth, Head of Connectivity Solutions, Facebook Asia Pacific in an official statement to Indian Express. The Express Wi-Fi internet service could be provided by both local ISPs or mobile operators. Facebook aims to increase the total internet audience which is 390 million at present amounting to be about 30 percent of the total population of 1.3 billion.

Facebook, through its Internet.org initiative, has launched its low-priced Express Wi-Fi service in India.

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So, the Express Wi-Fi is different from Free Basics.

All together trying to provide affordable access to high-speed data to all the users across India.

Facebook began trialling Express Wi-Fi in 2015, with the service now set to launch. The internet access will bring people to online and helps them to contribute something to the Government's Digital Indian Vision. Anyone can run an Express Wi-Fi hotspot, which means entrepreneurs across the country can offer their communities faster and more affordable internet. However, Express WiFi launch comes at a day after TRAI chairman RS Sharma said that the regulator will come out with its recommendations on net neutrality by the first half of July.

Reconfirming the very objective of Express WiFi, Seth said, "A major part of the world is not connected (to the internet) due to lack of infrastructure, lack of awareness and affordability". Indeed, many would think of Facebook as having a social conscience because of the way Facebook still proactively tries to address the various social issues plaguing the platform.

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