The social-networking giant has worked with internet service providers and over 500 local entrepreneur retailers to bring almost 700 hotspots across four states in India - Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Meghalaya.
The company said Thursday it was planning to roll out 20,000 WiFi hotspots across the country over the coming months in partnership with Indian mobile provider Bharti Airtel.
Facebook has stated that it is working with several internet service providers on Express Wi-Fi, and indeed began discussing an expansion of the service with ISPs back in August 2016.
Besides India, Facebook's Express Wi-Fi connectivity solution is now available in kenya, Indonesia, Tanzania and Nigeria, the company said in a statement.
Unlike Free Basics however, Express Wi-Fi users will have to purchase data from ISPs, albeit at affordable costs. The Express Wi-Fi will allow the subscribers to browse any part of the Internet, thankfully, no differential pricing here. "Express Wi-Fi is part of our global initiative and we want to expand Internet connectivity to underserved locations", PTI quoted Facebook Asia Pacific Head of Connectivity Solutions, Munish Seth as saying. It will also help people connect to the internet easily and at an affordable rate, subsequently increasing the current base of internet population of just 390 million, the company added.
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It finally pulled the plug on the programme in February previous year in this country, after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) barred operators from charging discriminatory rates for net access based on content.
Facebook has doubled down on its Express Wi-Fi project in India ever since regulators in the country ruled in 2016 that its previous initiative, Free Basics, was illegal.
To explain as to what will an Express Wi-Fi hotspot do, it will work like a normal Wi-Fi connection at different places offering you high bandwidth to get online at affordable prices.
Early signs of Express Wi-Fi were spotted in villages in India past year, months after the domestic government banned Free Basics on the grounds of net neutrality. Google has an up and running free Wi-Fi platform scattered across hundreds of railway stations. The company has been testing the product in India and has been operating a little over 700 Wi-Fi hotspots, working with around 500 village-level entrepreneurs. However, Express WiFi launch comes at a day after TRAI chairman RS Sharma said that the regulator will come out with its recommendations on net neutrality by the first half of July.