Express Wifi is an initiative by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to enable affordable broadband in remote areas of the world. The social networking service is reportedly in the talks with local internet service providers to bring the program to India. Customers of Express Wifi can buy data packets starting at INR 10 ($0.15).
India is regarded as a huge growth market for both internet and smartphone services. Tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Apple, are currently trying to gain leadership of this prospective market.
Express Wifi by Facebook is a means to expand connectivity in rural and remote areas across the globe. To enable all people of the world to take advantage of the benefits of the web, the company is working with ISPs, carriers, and local entrepreneurs. The company has yet to disclose the names of the internet service providers they have teamed up with.
Facebook says that fast, affordable, and reliable internet open the door to a wide range of information that is crucial to all individuals. The social media giant lists benefits like access to news, education, entertainment and, of course, the Facebook app.
Earlier this year, the Free Basics app by Facebook was withdrawn by India’s telecom regulator TRAI because of price discrimination.
India is the first market to get Express Wifi from Facebook. However, the company is hoping to expand to other regions in the near future. A pilot version of the program has already been rolled out. The social networking company has already introduced as much as 125 Wi-fi spots in public rural areas in partnership with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, a telecommunications company with headquarters in New Delhi.
Google, however, is one step ahead of Facebook. The giant is already offering internet connectivity to about 2 million people in India each day. Google started its own program back in April, by adding Wi-fi hotspots in 23 railroad stations across the country. The company’s goal is to gain 10 million daily internet users by the end of the year. In the end, Google hopes to provide connectivity to around 400 railroad station in India.
Zuckerberg has also announced that AMOS-6, the company’s satellite, will launch into a geostationary orbit covering significant parts of Africa. By working with local partners, the tech giant hopes to offer internet access via satellite to the local communities.