Facebook brings Express WiFi to India, partners with Airtel for 700 hotspots

Remember the cable guy? Carrying a roll of optical fibre cables on his shoulder that brought satellite TV to your homes before set top box relegated him to history.

He is coming back but only in the form of entrepreneurs who will set up WiFi hotspots courtesy Facebook to provide internet in public places ending India’s poor connectivity problem.

Called Express WiFi, the new programme, which is a follow up of the banned Free Basics platform, ties up with entrepreneurs to help them set up public WiFi hotspots and helping them provide internet to a lot of citizens in poor or no connectivity areas – the “intent” behind Free Basics platform.

“We were working with ISP and operator partners to test Express WiFi with public WiFi deployments in multiple pilot sites,” Munish Seth, head of connectivity solutions at Facebook’s Asia Pacific region, told HT, adding that now customers will be able to purchase fast, reliable and affordable data packs in four states (Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Meghalaya) across 700 hotspots and 500 retailers. Express WiFi has been deployed in partnership with ISPs AirJaldi in Uttarakhand, LMES in Rajasthan, Tikona in Gujarat, and soon with Shaildhar in Meghalaya.