Facebook launches Express WiFi in India

Facebook launches Express WiFi in India

Social media giant Facebook has partnered with country's largest telecom player Airtel to deploy 20,000 internet hotspots through Facebook's Express Wi-Fi service in India.

"Express Wi-Fi is created to complement mobile data offerings by providing a low-priced, high bandwidth alternative for getting online and access apps, download and stream content", wrote Seth in a blog post. At the moment, the connectivity initiative is live in five countries namely India, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and Indonesia. Then go ahead to an Express Wi-Fi hotspot where you'll be able to access the internet and only after signing up or registering yourself, you'll be able to log in and begin using the internet.

Unlike Facebook's previous attempt at connecting people to the internet through the Free Basics initiative that gave consumers access to select apps and portals, the Express Wi-Fi offers internet at upwards of 10Mbps speeds without any per day limit or restrictions on accessing any part of the internet.

Called Express WiFi, the new programme, which is a follow up of the banned Free Basics platform, ties up with entrepreneurs to help them set up public WiFi hotspots and helping them provide internet to a lot of citizens in poor or no connectivity areas - the "intent" behind Free Basics platform.

With Free Basics, which is live in almost two dozen territories worldwide, Facebook offers access to select websites and services for free.

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The executive said that Facebook is working towards empowering local entrepreneur, internet service providers and telecom operators to offer reliable and affordable service to underserved community.

Moving on, Facebook has 700 hotspots installed across four Indian states: Rajasthan, Gujarat, Meghalaya, and Uttarakhand.

"We will recommend ISPs based on our tests and usually the speed of the WiFi has to be somewhat around 10mbps", Seth said, adding, that if someone wants to use the WiFi, the person will buy a data card just like prepaid vouchers and use it on their devices. Instead, Facebook has partnered with over 500 local retailers, and other commercial establishments in the four states to make these hotspots available to users at affordable prices. Now only 360 million Indians, out of a population of 1.3 billion, have internet access, according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI's) Performance Indicator Report. "We believe this will help in empowering millions of Indians by bringing them online and contribute to the Government's Digital India vision".

Facebook says its goal is to "grow the number of Express Wi-Fi hotspots in India rapidly".

Facebook's audacious and affordable WiFi system has launched in India.

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