After Free Basics, Facebook tests ‘Express Wi-Fi’ in India
Express WiFi by Facebook
Month after receiving knock for allegedly violating network neutrality with Free Basics, Facebook’s giant social network is now testing a new model for public Wi-Fi deployments to provide quality Internet access in rural areas of the country termed as Express Wi-Fi in India.
According to Facebook’s Internet.org page, the company’s Express WiFi is live in India and “works with carriers, Internet service providers and local entrepreneurs to help extend connectivity to underserved locations in the world”. It soon spread to other regions.
However, Facebook has not indicated if Wi-Fi would provide limited access to a few websites, such as its free databases, or full access.
Empowering local entrepreneurs:
Express Wifi would allow local entrepreneurs to help provide quality Internet access to their neighbors and make a steady income, she said. “By working with local Internet service providers or mobile operators, they are able to use the software provided by Facebook to connect their communities.
Facebook is experiencing products like laser drones to improve internet connectivity for users around the world.
During a contact, a Facebook spokesman confirmed that the company was currently working with Internet service providers to test Express Wi-Fi with public Wi-Fi deployments in many pilot sites. “This solution allows Internet service providers, operators and retailers of local entrepreneurs to provide quality Internet access to their village, city or region,” the spokesman said.
However, the spokesperson did not comment on the locations or names of partners in the project.
The spokesperson said that Express Wi-Fi customers could purchase fast, reliable and affordable data packs via digital vouchers to access the Internet on the Express Wi-Fi network.
Better internet for everyone:
When people are able to buy quickly, affordably and reliably internet, they are able to explore the range of information that it has to offer, including news, education, health, Employment, entertainment and communication tools like Facebook.
“We are focusing on building a sustainable business model for all stakeholders so that local entrepreneurs, ISPs, operators and Facebook can continue to invest in and operate in sustainable connectivity.We believe a sustainable economic model is the one which can scale to bring all of India online,” the spokesperson said.
The US-based company had terminated its controversial Free Basics program in India in February of this year, after the telecommunications regulator TRAI prohibited operators from charging discriminatory rates for content-based Internet access.
Facebook continues to launch this program, launched in 2014, in many countries. The service was launched in India in partnership with Reliance Communications as Internet.org.
The service – which was later renamed Free Basics – was designed to provide basic Internet access to people in partnership with telecom operators.
However, critics snapped the service saying it violated the principle of net neutrality which advocates equal treatment of all Internet traffic.