After facing the wrath of the internet over Free Basics/Internet.org, Facebook is planning to come back to India with a different kind of proposal – Express WiFi.
Express WiFi is a new program being developed by the social media giants which lets Indian phone users buy data from local internet service providers. On their website, Facebook claims to be working with carriers, internet service providers and local entrepreneurs to help expand internet connectivity to the remotest of locations around the world. Although they are starting with India, they plan to expand to other regions of the world as well. As per reports from the BBC, Express WiFi has already completed trial runs with local state-run telecom companies and 125 rural WiFi hotspots.
Well, Facebook wants to empower local entrepreneurs to make use of a steady internet connection which will help them run their businesses better apart from just providing a better internet connection for everybody across the country. Or, to put it quite bluntly, more people on Facebook’s internet would mean more people on Facebook. Which is awesome for companies relying heavily on Facebook for marketing and lots of money for Facebook.
Will this mark the return of Free Basics?
Thankfully, no! India did its best to let the Telecom Regulatory Authority Of India (TRAI) know that we did not want to curb the freedom of choice for Free Basics. After much hullabaloo over it, Free Basics was officially banned in the country.
Details on the pricing are yet to be unveiled by the good people at Facebook.