Facebook has also announced its partnership with the telecom carrier to launch an additional 20,000 hotspots.
"Express Wi-Fi is created to complement mobile data offerings by providing a low-priced, high-bandwidth alternative for getting online and access apps, download and stream content", stated Munish Seth, the regional head of Facebook's connectivity solutions in APAC region. LMES (Rajasthan) and Shaildhar (Meghalaya) enable these hotspots in the four states. Express Wi-Fi program is available in four other countries: Kenya, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Tanzania.
These partners will be able to set their own prices and data packs for Express WiFi, a Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. The Express Wi-Fi will allow the subscribers to browse any part of the Internet, thankfully, no differential pricing here.
Tech giant Google has also rolled out free Internet access through public wi-fi hotspots at various railway stations in partnership with RailTel. "They also help Indians connect to the internet easily and for an affordable rate", said Munish Seth, Facebook Asia-Pacific's head of connectivity solutions. And finally, after a year of testing with various ISPs (internet service providers), it is up and running in four states- Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Meghalaya- using almost 700 hotspots in these regions.Today, the company announced its partnership with Airtel to launch an additional 20,000 hotspots spread over the country in next few months. Network provider Airtel has come in as the fifth partner to offer more than 20,000 hotspots across India, PTI reported.
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"We will recommend ISPs based on our tests and usually the speed of the WiFi has to be somewhat around 10mbps", Seth said, adding, that if someone wants to use the WiFi, the person will buy a data card just like prepaid vouchers and use it on their devices.
After being in testing for a while now, Express Wi-Fi by Facebook was on Thursday launched commercially in India. Facebook aims to increase the total internet audience which is 390 million at present amounting to be about 30 percent of the total population of 1.3 billion.
With this commercial launch, Facebook may have taken another step to connect even more individuals to the internet but they now also need to expand its presence across India. "We believe this will help in empowering millions of Indians by bringing them online and contribute to the Government's Digital India vision", Ajai Puri, Chief Operating Officer (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel said in a statement.
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