Facebook said that it is commercially rolling out Express Wi-Fi, a program under which local entrepreneurs can sell Internet to users in a locality. On Thursday, the social networking company said that it has partnered with telecom giant Airtel to bring nearly 20,000 wi-fi hotspots over the next few months.
It has also partnered with other internet service providers including Airjaldi in Uttarakhand, LMES in Rajasthan and Tikona in Gujarat. The company has been running trials in various parts of the country for over a year. It is already active in countries like Kenya.
The idea is to give a local entrepreneur a way to sell and manage Internet bandwidth to customers who buy recharge coupons from them.
Munish Seth, Head of Connectivity Solutions, Facebook Asia Pacific, said, “Our goal is to grow the number of Express Wi-Fi hotspots in India rapidly. India has a population of about 1.3 billion people, but according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI’s) Performance Indicator Report, only 390 million people are connected to the Internet.”