India here to benefit tremendously from the network provision by the renowned tech giant in the field of social media – Facebook. But the interesting thing in this development is that the network provider – Airtel is here to go into partnership with Facebook to make this motive an achievable one. Facebook Express Wi-Fi is now in India and already has 700 hotspots across Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Meghalaya. Said Munish Seth, Facebook ‘s Head of Connectivity Solutions.
Facebook has announced the commercial rollout of its Express Wi-fi project, which promises “fast, reliable and affordable” Internet to those who are not connected, with Airtel coming in as the fifth partner offering over 20,000 hotspots across the country, this development is going to boost the communication status of the people, who have been using some form of connection and at a very high stance, to provide network to the people who are not yet able to get their hands closer to network facilities. Munish Seth, Head of Connectivity Solutions, Facebook Asia Pacific, said the project, which has been in a pilot mode since 2015 has three Internet service provider partners who offer 700 hotspots across Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Meghalaya through 500 local entrepreneurs.
Express Wifi – Africa is a beneficiary
Express Wi-Fi is currently living in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Indonesia as well, it is an intercontinental provision, Africa is to benefit very much in this.
Seth said the learning so far has been to ensure that this is a self-sustainable model for everyone. “The services are priced by the Internet service providers, who will also recruit the entrepreneurs. Facebook, on the other hand, provides the software and network architecture along with analytics.
All peoples’ Wifi – poor and rich
Seth said the model will not be subsidized in any way and will be rolled out primarily in market and community areas. He added Facebook’s mission was to take the internet to whoever is not connected, and there would be no differentiation when it comes to urban or rural areas.
Ajai Puri, Chief Operating Officer (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel said the company was delighted to be a part of this initiative to provide affordable access to high-speed data to users across India, particularly in the underserved segment. The Airtel rollout will take a few months.
Express Wi-Fi, designed to complement mobile data offerings by providing a low-cost, high-bandwidth alternative for getting online, will offer a minimum speed of 10 Mbps. Seth said users will register on the network, complete KYC before being prompted to the nearest retailer, who will offer a package based on the time and GB. There will be daily, weekly and monthly packs on offer.
Partners in the business
At the moment Express Wi-Fi is deployed in partnership with ISPs AirJaldi in Uttarakhand, LMES in Rajasthan, Tikona in Gujarat and is being rolled out with Shaildhar in Meghalaya. Airtel will be the fifth partner, while Facebook is already in talks with others.
Connectivity is a very vital need of everyone and more crucial to the modern generation. To provide this facility for the people stands out as a great achievement of anyone that makes it a responsibility. We need to connect and we must be connected now or never.
By Chidiebere Moses Ogbodo