After the downfall of Facebook’s “Free Basics” project, the social networking giant is now testing a new project dubbed as “Express Wi-Fi.” for India. The project aims at providing quality internet services in the rural areas of the country. As per Facebook’s Internet.org page, the project is already made live in select regions of India and will expand gradually to cover more areas.
A blog post on Facebook’s Internet.org page states,“With Express Wifi, we’re working with carriers, Internet service providers, and local entrepreneurs to help expand connectivity to undeserved locations around the world. We’re currently live in India, and are expanding to other regions soon,”
Facebook affirms that the new Express Wi-Fi project is based on a sustainable business model, which will assist in improving the status of Internet connectivity in India. Although it will be helpful for the rural parts, the blog post did not reveal whether the Express Wi-Fi will provide limited access to websites similar to Facebook’s Free Basics. The limited internet access was the primary reason why Free Basics faced strong opposition in India. By barring websites as per its policies, Facebook primarily violated net neutrality policies.
With Express Wi-Fi Facebook promises assistance to local businesspeople in providing quality internet access to their neighbours and generate regular income. In its blog post, Facebook says that “Working with local internet service providers or mobile operators, they’re able to use software provided by Facebook to connect their communities,”
We hope that this time Facebook does not violate net neutrality through its project. It would be interesting to see how Indian users react to Facebook’s Express Wi-Fi. Stay tuned with us for more news.