Facebook testing innovative Express Wi-Fi in IndiaTech
Facebook is in early stages of testing its Express Wi-Fi service in India, BBC reported on Monday.
Express Wi-Fi is being launched in collaboration with local internet service providers (ISPs). It would enable users to purchase data from local ISPs for accessing internet.
For this purpose, the company has already launched a pilot version with one of the state-run telecommunication companies, which is currently offered at 125 rural Wi-Fi hotspots.
“Facebook is probably hoping that users who first encounter the web via a Facebook initiative will be more likely to become users of the social network – rather than a competitor,” Ian Fogg, an analyst at IHS Technology, was quoted as saying by BBC.
“In emerging economies, Facebook is pursuing an intervention strategy to increase the pace of internet and online usage because this will also raise the addressable market for Facebook,” he said.
Earlier in February this year, India’s telecom regulator dealt a blow to Facebook’s plans to offer free mobile Internet through its controversial Free Basics service, by outlawing differential pricing for data packages.
Facebook met a backlash from “net neutrality” advocates, who say that because Free Basics only allows access to selected websites it violates the principle that the entire Internet should be available to everyone on equal terms.
While not ruling explicitly on net neutrality, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had decided not to allow what it called “discriminatory pricing” for different data platforms or content.