How positively the initiative will be taken by the Indian countrymen, remains to be seen.
Facebook started testing Express Wi-Fi in India in 2015.
At the moment Express Wi-Fi is deployed in partnership with ISPs AirJaldi in Uttarakhand, LMES in Rajasthan, Tikona in Gujarat and is being rolled out with Shaildhar in Meghalaya. The company also insists on the fact that the program will bring economic empowerment to the local service providers who can earn a steady income by reselling internet to their neighbors, with Facebook providing the software for doing that.
Airtel will roll out the hotspots in a phased manner through 2017.
Facebook's goal is to grow the number of Express Wi-Fi hotspots in India rapidly. Tying up with telecom companies is a no-brainer. Where Facebook handles the back-end technology and telcos the on-ground work.
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"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". The vouchers will be available to purchase through online and offline stores.
Interestingly, Facebook continues to run the Free Basics programme across many other countries. As it was discovered, the free internet services provided went completely again the tenets of net neutrality.
The launch comes after Indian regulators moved to block a Facebook launch of free internet as part of an agreement Reliance Communications. In addition to offering free Wi-Fi at over 100 railway stations, Google is also moulding its apps and services to cater to the local needs. In any case, both the companies need more people to use the internet for their own benefit. Access will not be restricted to any particular website. Meanwhile, the new Express WiFi offers Internet at high speeds of up to 10 Mbps without any per day restriction on accessing any part of the Internet. This time around, Facebook is trying to do the right thing and not upset the netizens of the country.
As Beldock noted, the challenge of expanding the service to other countries isn't so much technical as it is about understanding the local markets and needs. The people saw through it nearly instantly and called out Facebook for being evil. While the internet came free of cost, it was a walled garden, with limited websites for users to browse through. It is trying to provide WiFi service using 700 hotspots.