In a bid to give a major push to Express WiFi service in India, Facebook has joined hands Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) for backhaul bandwidth connectivity at preferential rates for its Internet service provider (ISP) partners.
Both the companies entered into a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday on the same. Notably, the social networking major is already working with Airtel Africa to deploy fibre connectivity backhaul in Uganda.
The new partnership in India follows Facebook’s recent tie-up with India’s leading telecom operator Bharti Airtel for the deployment of 20,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the country to provide affordable high-speed Internet via Express Wi-Fi service.
Express Wi-Fi is part of Facebook's global initiative to spread internet connectivity. It started testing Express Wi-Fi in India in 2015 and, working with internet services providers (ISPs) and over 500 local entrepreneur-retailers.
Facebook has made the service commercially available through nearly 700 hotspots across the four Indian states of Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Meghalaya. Express Wi-Fi is currently live in five countries—India, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and Indonesia.
Express Wi-Fi has been deployed in partnership with ISPs AirJaldi in Uttarakhand, LMES in Rajasthan, Tikona in Gujarat, and soon with Shaildhar in Meghalaya.
Anyone can access the Express Wi-Fi network by signing up with an Express Wi-Fi retailer and purchasing a daily, weekly or monthly data pack at a rate set by our partners. They will then be able to connect to the Express Wi-Fi hotspot, register/create an account, log in and start browsing or use any app on the entire internet.
“Express Wi-Fi is designed to complement mobile data offerings by providing a low-cost, high-bandwidth alternative for getting online and access apps, download and stream content,” Facebook had recently said.
The state-run telecom has inked partnerships with Mobikwik and Data Infosys. Under the partnership, MobiKwik wallet app will come preload in all BSNL powered mobile handsets, while Data Infosys will allow BSNL to offer bulk secured email services to enterprises.