After the controversial Free Basics with Reliance, Facebook is now testing its ‘Express Wi-Fi” in India. Under the project the company has installed Wi-Fi hotspots in the rural areas of the country, which are currently in testing phase, to offer high-quality Internet access.
As per the mentioning on Facebook’s Internet.org page that the Express Wi-Fi is live in the country and it is “working with carriers, internet service providers and local entrepreneurs to help expand connectivity to underserved locations around the world”. The firm is also looking forward to expand the project to other regions as well.
The project empowers local entrepreneurs and ISPs help provide quality internet access to their neighbours and make a steady income. However, the company didn’t reveal that the Wi-Fi hotspots will offer full access, or provide limited access to a few websites, like its Free Basics.
When talking to the Facebook’s spokesperson, it was confirmed that the company is currently testing Express Wi-Fi. The spokesperson further stated that after the successful deployment of Express Wi-Fi, its users will be able to use fast Internet access by purchasing reliable and affordable data packs via digital vouchers.
“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.
However, the spokesperson did not comment on the locations or the names of the partners in the project.