Update: A spokesperson from Facebook has issued a statement stating that the company is working with ISP and Operator partners to test Express Wi-Fi at multiple locations. This empowers the operators, ISPs and local entrepreneur-retailers to offer quality internet to their town, village or region. Facebook further adds that Express Wi-Fi customers can purchase fast, reliable and affordable data packs via digital vouchers to access the internet on Express Wi-Fi network to make a sustainable economic model for everyone involved.
Facebook is currently testing a new internet infrastructure “Express Wi-Fi” in partnership with BSNL in rural areas to provide ‘affordable’ internet to people who don’t have access to the cheap internet or in some cases, no internet at all. According to the vague details published on the “Express Wifi” page by Facebook, the company is working with carriers or mobile operators, internet service providers and local entrepreneurs to help increase the connectivity of internet in these remote locations. Facebook has been testing this service since an unspecified amount of time, but the company plans to expand this service in other regions.
The decision to involve local entrepreneurs where they may or may not invest to help set up the infrastructure in their area is quite brilliant actually. This will give local business owners good incentive to invest so they can tap the untapped potential of the community by bringing them online.
This works perfectly in line for Facebook as the company is trying to connect the next one billion people to the internet where almost 30 percent of that number will come from India. The organic growth can’t be driven by a company or ISPs or government that effectively. Instead local businesses and entrepreneurs can give the boost needed to the adoption of latest technologies. Facebook focused on the local adoption push recently where the company pointed out that it will concentrate on helping businesses connect with new potential customers.