After net neutrality controversy, Facebook tests Express WiFi in rural parts of India
The Social media Giant, Facebook says that it is trying to bring affordable internet connections in India, especially for the rural regions. According to a PTI report, after the company received a lot of criticism regarding violation of net neutrality in Free Basics, it will now bring a new method to deploy WiFi in order to provide the internet in remote areas of the country. According to their Internet.org page, Facebook Express WiFi is live in India and ‘working with carriers, internet service providers, and local entrepreneurs to help expand connectivity to underserved locations around the world.’ It also said that other parts of the world will get it too.
The problem with Free Basics was that it was offering limited Internet access to just a small number of sites approved by Facebook.
Express WiFi comes with the aim that it wants to support local entrepreneurs, by proving good internet connections to them so that they use it to connect. It said, “ Express Wifi empowers local entrepreneurs to help provide quality internet access to their neighbors and make a steady income. Working with local internet service providers or mobile operators, they’re able to use software provided by Facebook to connect their communities.”
Facebook is experimenting with products like laser drones to enhance internet connectivity for users across the world. When contacted, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the company is currently working with internet service providers to test Express WiFi with public WiFi deployments in multiple pilot sites.
However, Facebook did not indicate if the Wi-Fi would provide limited access to a few websites, like its Free Basics, or full access.
The spokesperson said Express WiFi customers could purchase fast, reliable and affordable data packs via digital vouchers to access the Internet on the Express WiFi network.
“We focus on building a sustainable economic model for all stakeholders involved so that local retailer entrepreneurs, ISPs, operators and Facebook can continue to invest in and operate lasting connectivity. We believe a sustainable economic model is the one which can scale to bring all of India online,” the spokesperson said.