Facebook commercially launches Express Wi-Fi in India

Facebook starts commercial rollout of Express Wi-Fi, gets Airtel as partner for 20000 hotspots

Instead, Facebook has partnered with over 500 local retailers, and other commercial establishments in the four states to make these hotspots available to users at affordable prices. The vouchers will be available to purchase through online and offline stores.

The company said it had been testing this "low-cost, high bandwidth" facility with a number of internet service providers since 2015. They now have around 184 million active monthly users in the country, of which about half use the site every day. The Express Wi-Fi program aims to provide hassle-free internet over Wifi taking help from local ISPs.

The Mountain View internet giant also has a WiFi plan called Google Fi, which Facebook claims is different from its Express WiFi.

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Facebook finally pulled the plug on the controversy- ridden programme in India in February previous year after sectoral regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India barred operators from charging discriminatory rates for Internet- access based on content. Facebook is steering itself clear of those approaches this time. After adding Express Wi-Fi to his family's restaurant he could serve a lot more students these days, and they're staying for longer. Under Facebook's Express WiFi scheme, this is India's largest such partnership, which can bring accessibility to thousands of new Internet users, in India.

"Their [Google's and Facebook's] objective is to create a framework which is replicable". However, he said that the entrepreneur can choose any internet service provider (ISP) for bringing the WiFi to the hotspot. Both companies are aiming on capitalizing on India's growth for long term success. While Google is relying on Railways' Railtel network, enabling internet connectivity at hundreds of railway stations, Microsoft has been trying to use White-Fi technology, which uses the unlicensed television broadcast spectrum to reach areas that are hundreds of kilometres away from the optical fibre cables.

Reportedly, Bharti Airtel has joined in as the fifth partner in the initiative to help launch another 20,000 hotspots in the country. India is a land of about 1.3 billion people, but the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI's) Performance Indicator Report states that there are only 390 million people are truly connected to the Internet. Seth says he believes the Indian market is big enough for all companies to cater for consumers.

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