Social media major, 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 Wi-Fi in order to provide the internet in remote areas of the country. According to their Internet.org page, Facebook Express Wi-Fi 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 interesting thing to note is that Facebook has not said anything yet on whether the Wi-Fi will have curbed access, just like its Free Basics program or will there be no bias among websites. Express Wi-Fi 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 neighbours 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.”
A Facebook spokesperson told PTI, “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.” There is no information yet, about the places and partners in the project.
Facebook, which had removed the Free Basics programme in India, early this year, have been running it in many other countries. Facebook took the decision after receiving severe criticism that the Free Basics service was against the principles of net neutrality. Recently, the social media giant has been under fire where people have accused it of promoting fake news and eventually influencing the US Presidential elections.