Facebook is testing on a new model for deploying public WiFi to offer quality internet access in rural India. Social networking giant’s “Express Wifi” concept is live in India and is working with carriers, local entrepreneurs and, internet service providers to help expand connectivity to underserved locations around the world.
These express Wi-Fi services are expanding to other regions soon. However, Facebook did not give any hint if the Wi-Fi will provide only limited access to few websites, like its Free Basics, or provide full access. Express Wi-Fi strengthens local entrepreneurs to provide quality internet access to their neighbors and get steady income out of it.
Facebook is also experimenting with equipment like laser drones for better internet connectivity for users across the world. At present, it is also working with internet service providers and testing the ‘Express Wi-Fi’ with public Wi-Fi deployments in multiple pilot sites.
“This solution empowers ISPs, operators and local entrepreneur-retailers to offer quality Internet access to their village, town or region, Working with local internet service providers or mobile operators, they are able to use software provided by Facebook to connect their communities,” says, Facebook spokesperson.
However, locations and the names of the partners collaborating in the project are yet to be known. Express Wi-Fi customers can purchase digital vouchers to have Internet access on the Express Wi-Fi network.
Facebook is mainly focusing on building a new economic model to the involved stakeholders, local retailer entrepreneurs, operators and ISPs. Facebook may continue to invest in the operation which lasts connectivity.
‘Free Basics program’ in India led the company in to a controversy from Trai for charging discriminatory rates for Internet access. The program was launched back in 2014 and continues to run the program in many countries. The service was launched in India as a joint venture with Reliance Communications as Internet.org.