As per Facebook’s Internet.org page, Facebook is now testing ‘Express WiFi’ in some rural parts of India. The company is said to be working with carriers, internet service providers, and local entrepreneurs to help expand connectivity to underserved locations around the world.
A little while back the social network giant was criticized a lot for violating the terms and conditions of net neutrality through its Free Basics campaign. Now, when the storm has settled in, Facebook is already testing its Wi-Fi service as a part of its Free Basics initiative. If this is a part of Free Basics, then will this Wi-Fi service limit its users to access some selected websites or it will be the same irrespective of the URL you visit.
The company said in a statement that – “It’s working with local internet service providers or mobile operators, they are able to use software provided by Facebook to connect their communities,â€
A spokesperson from Facebook said – “This solution empowers ISPs, operators and local entrepreneur-retailers to offer quality Internet access to their village, town or region,”
“We focus on building a sustainable economic model for all stakeholders involved so that local retailer entrepreneurs, ISPs, operators and Facebook can continue to invest in and operate lasting connectivity. We believe a sustainable economic model is the one which can scale to bring all of India online,” – he added.
However, he failed to reveal the internet service providers they are working with and the locations at which Facebook is currently testing its services. We hope to get hold of that soon.
Coming back to Free Basics, this service from Facebook was first introduced in 2014 and offers basic internet access to people by partnering with local telecom operators. However, the social network giant got into a nasty controversy with TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) after TRAI ordered all the telecom operators to not charge different rates for different websites or based on the content.