Facebook, the leading social media giant has announced the commercial rollout of its Wi-Fi project. Facebook has promised highly reliable, fast and affordable Internet to all those who can connect to it. On the other hand, Airtel has become its 5th official partner to offer 20000 hotspots across the country. The head of Facebook Asia Pacific, connectivity solutions, Mr. Munish Seth proclaimed that the project was in silent mode since 2015 and since then has 3 Internet service provider partners who provide about 700 hotspots across the states of Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Meghalaya. Moreover, there is a team of 500 local entrepreneurs who help to further expand this project. The commercial Express Wi-Fi at present is in full swing in the countries such as Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya and also Indonesia.
Further, Munish Seth reiterates that this project garners its significance from the self-sustainable model for everyone. Because of this aspect, every person recruited is an entrepreneur and the Internet service provider has the freedom to price the services accordingly. All that the Facebook does is to provide software and the network structure along with the useful analytics. Munish Seth explained that the model is not subsidised under any circumstances and the targeted area would be markets and community areas. He adds that the idea is to provide connectivity to those who were previously not connected to the Internet. Facebook’s primary mission is to connect a maximum number of people through Express Wi-Fi in a sustainable manner. Moreover, there will also be differentiation when comparing the network in the urban and rural areas.
The Bharti Airtel’s chief operating officer for India and South Asia, Mr. Ajai Puri confirmed that the company was delighted to be a part of Facebook’s commercial Express Wi-Fi initiative. He said that it will provide reliable and affordable access to high-speed data connectivity to people across India. especially to those who represent the underserved segment. Although, he added that Airtel will take a couple of months before the final roll out.
The specific details of Express Wi-Fi are as following. The minimum speed would be 10 Mbps. Mr. Seth said that the users would need to register on the network with the help of the KYC. The offered packages will be low cost and of high bandwidth which would complement the mobile data offerings. The nearest retailer would offer packages which would be primarily based on time and GB’s. Moreover, there would be daily, weekly and monthly packages to be purchased.
At present, the Facebook commercial Express Wi-Fi is in operation with the help of partnership from the ISPs namely AirJaldi in Uttarakhand, Tikona in Gujarat, MES in Rajasthan and finally Shaildhar in Meghalaya which is being rolled out at the moment. With Airtel being the 5th partner in this endeavour Facebook has already started to rope in more partners for further expansions.