Facebook has tied up with Airtel in order to offer fast, reliable and affordable internet across 20,000 hotspots across the country through the social networking major’s Express Wi-Fi service over the next few months.
Munish Seth, Head of Connectivity Solutions, Facebook Asia Pacific, said that project has three Internet service provider partners who will offer 700 hotspots across Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Meghalaya through 500 local entrepreneurs.
He further told ET that “A major part of the world is not connected (to the internet) due to lack of infrastructure, lack of awareness and affordability. These are problems we need to address.”
With an aim to spread internet connectivity, Facebook’s global initiative partner Express Wi-Fi is designed to offer low-cost, high bandwidth internet connectivity. Unlike Free Basics that provided access to selected websites, Express Wi-Fi works on a paid model and will generously provide access to all websites.
Public Wifi hotspots will be made available through partnered telecom operators for user’s convenience.
Ajai Puri, Chief Operating Officer (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel said the company was delighted to be a part of this initiative to provide affordable access to high-speed data to users across India, particularly in the underserved segment. The Airtel rollout will take a few months.
At the moment Express Wi-Fi is deployed in partnership with ISPs AirJaldi in Uttarakhand, LMES in Rajasthan, Tikona in Gujarat and Shaildhar in Meghalaya.