Facebook continues with its ‘noble’ cause of connecting billions of Indians. However, unlike Free Basics that violated principles of net neutrality and left us with a sour taste, it has aimed at improving the infrastructure, something it should have done in the first place.
The company has now announced Express Wi-Fi, its new initiative to get Indians online, and eventually on Facebook. The company has teamed up with ISPs and entrepreneurs by providing software that will help them provide Internet service in the rural areas that can then be accessed via public Wi-Fi hotsposts.
Express Wi-Fi already had a trial with BSNL with about 125 rural Wi-Fi hotspots. After finding itself in a murkier situation post introducing Free Basics in India, this is company’s second attempt at bringing Internet access to Indians who do get it easily. Though the company may finally be on a path wherein it won’t face public ire (rather appreciation), but Facebook’s conduct in the past could make that difficult.
On the other hand, Google has made a headway as two million people are connected in India via Google’s railroad Wi-Fi hotspots, points out BusinessInsider. Google has hit the right spots, we must say. Where else could be a better start to help connect people than the country’s most preferred public transport system.
Google has introduced high-speed Wi-Fi at 23 stations with the aim to connect about 10 million users by this year-end. The company also has plans to increase this number to 400 stations in the country. This takes it way ahead in the game, when it comes to connecting people in India, something Facebook has been harping about all along.
Interestingly, Google was also believed to be in early discussions with telecom operators and applications developers to launch a zero rating platform last year. However, good sense prevailed and the company decided to shelve the idea of any kind of zero rating tie-up.
Zero rating is when the Internet service provider offers certain apps for free to users, and the app developers pay the telcos. This clearly violates the principles of net neutrality, which means equal Internet access to all.