Meta, formerly Facebook, brought to the world Express Wi-Fi back in 2016. The service promised better internet connectivity in public places for more than one billion prospect users who have to live with poor internet connection. For this Meta collaborated with multiple partners in the telecom sector (mobile and satellite operators) to create an ecosystem of public Wi-Fi access. To date, the service brings smooth internet to 30 countries, but now, the service is going to close.
Anyone using the Meta Express Wi-Fi service should not panic about this development, since, existing users will continue to get the uninterrupted service. In the announcement, Meta said that the future work on the Express Wi-Fi program will be wound down later this year. The impact on their business and customer connectivity will be kept to a minimum.
The project didn’t turn out as planned because bringing internet connectivity to developing countries (including Ghana, India, Indonesia, and Nigeria) in remote regions is a challenge in itself. The idea of beaming Wi-Fi connectivity with drones is impractical at the execution level, while resources and time investment are really difficult to justify.
The Free Basics service providing free internet at no additional cost to the user will continue to run for the existing userbase. Other than that, all the endeavors under the program will be terminated, as Meta sees no merit in continuing them. One of the reasons is the complication of logistical and social fronts in Express Wi-Fi.
Along with this, Meta’s long-term crypto project Diem is also shutting down as an investment firm, Silvergate Bank, has bought $182 million worth of assets. According to Diem CEO Stuart Levey, the positive feedback on the network suggests the project could not move ahead.
The Facebook name association played a big part in Diem’s downfall because of the tech giant’s skepticism amongst EU and US regulators. Initial backers like PayPal, Mastercard, and Visa also lost trust in the cryptocurrency project and abandoned the ship.