Two years after testing its pilot project, Facebook on Thursday launched its “Express Wi-Fi” commercially in India. Express Wi-Fi, that is a part of Facebook global initiative to expand internet connectivity, is now commercially available via 700 hotspots spread across four states of Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Meghalaya.
Apart from India, the programme is currently active in Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania. Facebook is currently working with a number of local Internet Service Providers and 500 local entrepreneurs to spread net connectivity.
It also announced a partnership with Bharti Airtel to launch an additional 20,000 hotspots, covering millions more Indians deprived of super-fast and affordable connectivity over the next few months. Express Wi-Fi is designed to complement mobile data offerings by providing a low-cost, high bandwidth alternative for getting online, accessing apps, downloading contents amongst other things, Facebook said. 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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Facebook said that anyone can access the Express Wi-Fi network by signing up with an Express Wi-Fi retailer and purchasing a daily, weekly or monthly data pack at a rate set by partners. They will then be able to connect to the Express Wi-Fi hotspot, register/create an account, login and start browsing or use any app on the internet.