Facebook, Airtel to deploy Wi-Fi hotspots in India

04 May 2017 | Written by Gaurav Jeyaraman; Edited by Shiladitya
Facebook, Airtel to provide affordable internet

Facebook and Bharti Airtel have teamed up to deploy over 20,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across India to provide affordable internet.

This will be done through Facebook's Express Internet service and will be deployed over the next few months. They seek to increase the footprint of Express Internet in India.

Airtel is currently in the planning stage with Facebook.

In context: Facebook, Airtel to provide affordable internet

Express Wi-FiWhat is Express Wi-Fi?

Facebook's Express Wi-Fi programme aims to create several public Wi-Fi hotspots across rural India.

Working in tandem with state-run and local internet service providers (ISPs) and entrepreneurs, Facebook will provide technological, infrastructural, and commercial assistance to bring internet connectivity to rural India.

Unlike Free Basics however, Express Wi-Fi users will have to purchase data from ISPs, albeit at affordable costs.

Where does Facebook run Express Internet?

Express Internet is currently live in five countries - India, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and Indonesia. In India they are working with 500 local entrepreneur retailers in Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Meghalaya to expand their presence.
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Facebook tests its express Wi-Fi service

Aug'16Facebook tests its express Wi-Fi service

Facebook began testing its Express Wi-Fi programme aimed at bringing internet connectivity to millions of rural Indians.

It has, in partnership with BSNL, already tested Express Wi-Fi across 125 rural Wi-Fi hotspots.

This development comes months after Facebook's Free Basics programme was blocked by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on the grounds that it violated the principles of net neutrality.

We are now sustainable in India: Facebook

Munish Seth, regional head APAC, Facebook Connectivity Solutions said, "We have grown the business to become sustainable in India, and believe the technology can be homogenised. We have now moved away from beta stage and are into rapidly expanding the footprint."

04 May 2017Facebook, Airtel to deploy Wi-Fi hotspots in India

Airtel delighted to be part of Express Internet

Ajai Puri, Chief Operating Officer (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel said "We are delighted to be a part of this initiative to provide affordable access to high speed data to users across India, particularly in the under-served segment."