Facebook’s Plans for Launch of Express Wi-Fi in Rural India

Aug 12, 2016

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The social media colossal is planning to launch a commercial Wi-Fi service in rural India.

After the fiasco of Free Basics due to oppose of Net Neutrality, Facebook decided to launch affordable internet to the masses by setting up Wi-Fi hotspots across the country.

Facebook is testing an Express Wi-Fi service in rural India, letting public to buy affordable data packages from their local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in order to access the Internet through local hotspots.

Facebook’s Express Wi-Fi service targets to offer fast, consistent, and reasonable data wirelessly via local hotspots. If successful, it will take fast internet to rural India and therefore would support the government’s Digital India initiative.

What is Express Wi-Fi?

  • Facebook’s Express Wi-Fi service targets to build several public Wi-Fi hotspots across rural India.
  • Working in tandem with state-run telco, BSNL and local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and entrepreneurs, Facebook will offer technological, infrastructural, and commercial assistance to bring internet connectivity to rural India.
  • Unlike Free Basics however, Express Wi-Fi users will have to purchase data from ISPs, though at reasonable prices.

Why Facebook is not giving up on India?

“While we’re disappointed with [the TRAI] decision, I want to personally communicate that we are committed to keep working to break down barriers to connectivity in India. We will keep working until everyone has access to the Internet,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

For Facebook, enhancing internet connectivity in India is a key target as it seeks to expand and procure the next one billion users. India has over 142 million Facebook users, making it Facebook’s second-largest market after the US.

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