One of the major goals of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is to bring the Internet, or at least their social network, to the whole world. They plan to partner with local companies in areas where connectivity is still an issue to bring Internet to the masses. The latest news is that together with Bhati Airtel in India, they will be deploying 20,000 WiFi hotspots to bring affordable, quality internet across the South Asian country. Over the next few months, users in the targeted areas will be able to access it through the company’s Express WiFi service.

This isn’t the first time that the two entities are working together. In fact, their first project is currently underway, bringing fiber connectivity in Uganda. According to Munish Seth, regional head for Facebook Connectivity Solutions in APAC, they decided to partner with Bhati Airtel to expand the Express WiFi footprint in India and that things are already in the planning stages. The problem they are aiming to overcome with this project is the lack of infrastructure, lack of awareness, and of course, affordability.

Facebook’s major goal, aside from bringing the Internet to people, is to empower local entrepreneurs, internet service providers, and telecom operators so that they themselves can bring reliable and affordable services to their countrymen that are currently not receiving this kind of service from the major players. They are currently working with local ISPs AirJaldi in Uttarakhand, LMES in Rajasthan, Tikona in Gujarat, and with Shaildhar in Meghalaya and they are targeting to go live in two weeks.

The Express WiFi platform is part of Facebook’s initiatives to bring down the cost of infrastructure and their plan is to partner with OEMs and technology partners to be able to do this. They are offering low-cost, high bandwidth alternatives to the local market and is currently live in five countries – India, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and Indonesia.

VIA: Economic Times


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