Technology Other News 08 Aug 2016 Facebook tests high- ...

Facebook tests high-speed Wi-Fi internet service across rural India

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | SANSKRITI TALWAR
Published Aug 8, 2016, 1:06 pm IST
Updated Aug 9, 2016, 10:30 am IST
Facebook had tried to bring ‘Free basics’ in India, but failed as it constantly faced criticism because of net neutrality.
 Facebook had tried to bring ‘Free basics’ in India, but failed as it constantly faced criticism because of net neutrality.

Facebook is reportedly testing its Express Wi-Fi programme, with Indian Internet service providers (ISPs), to provide high-speed internet connections across rural India.

In a statement to the Deccan Chronicle, Facebook's spokesperson said, "We are currently in the early stages of testing Express Wi-Fi with multiple local ISP partners in India." However, Facebook did not disclose the names of the ISP partners in India .

The programme, Express Wi-Fi, allows customers to purchase fast, reliable, and affordable data packages from their local ISPs to access the internet via local Wi-Fi hotspots.

In January 2016, the social-networking giant partnered with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to offer low-cost internet services across rural India. The company purchased bandwidth from the state-run BSNL to cover 125 rural areas for Rs 10 crore for three years.

The programme was rolled out as a pilot project in 125 rural areas, and was served to consumers via Wi-Fi hotspots, called Express Wi-Fi, offering speeds of around 2Mbps.

Earlier, Facebook had tried to bring ‘Free basics’ in India, but failed as it constantly faced criticism because of net neutrality. However, it did not give up its goal for India.

“Connecting India is an important goal we won't give up on, because more than a billion people in India don't have access to the internet. We know that connecting them can help lift people out of poverty, create millions of jobs and spread education opportunities. We care about these people, and that's why we're so committed to connecting them,” wrote Mark Zuckerberg on his Facebook page.

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