Facebook has announced to launch a new program of Internet connectivity that will facilitate underserved areas across India. Known as Express Wi-Fi, the new program is designed to offer software to local businesses in order to enable them to work with Internet service providers to share their internet connections with the natives of certain regions for a specific fee. Using the facility, the users will also be able to get a number of different services such as weather reports and general news.
Facebook’s plans have always welcomed the critics to give their perspective and feedback on what the company has been bringing for its users. One of the critics Nikhil Pahwa believes the new scheme is a repetitive act to company’s previous plans. He says that in his point of view it is a very important initiative by Facebook; and he thinks India needs more companies to provide internet access to the country. Pahwa is serving an Indian news website “MediaNama” as a publisher and editor.
According to Mr. Pahwa, as long as Facebook’s scheme doesn’t only offer access to certain sites or has set certain conditions, then he must appreciate it as a fantastic effort. The Indian editor had earlier criticized the proposal given by the American social giant to provide limited internet connectivity to the areas where it’s almost impossible to get online. Mr. Pahwa is among the one who has helped the companies organize the movement of “Save the Internet” in India.
It is worth to mention that Indian telecom’s regulation had blocked Free Basics internet service application provided by Facebook for Indians earlier this year in February because of its restricted services offered. It had given the users online access to a limited number of sites which was opposing the principles of Internet freedom and neutrality. The service saw a huge protest against its limitations while protestors argued that data providers must not favor some specific websites over other services provided on the Internet.
However, the Express Wi-fi program hasn’t mentioned anything in terms of limitations to accessible websites. According to Mr. Pahwa, the new service will empower local businesses to help offer quality internet connection to other people living next door and earn money. Indians have mobile connectivity but it will never meet the requirement. He also says people in India are using slow internet accessibility and slower connection, and its beyond the doubts that you can’t find anything there that you call high speed internet connection. Since mobile internet access is the costliest kind of internet connection, it is not favorable for the majority of people across the country.
Meanwhile, the history of the Indians using the internet suggests they would still utilize their mobile phones to avail Internet accessibility, it is, however, expected to have better results with Express Wi-Fi that’s going to be cheaper and faster than the customary ways of accessing the internet.
On the other hand, the management of Facebook has announced to have the service expanded to other areas very soon. The company has given no details for the possible cost set for giving the access to the internet under the new scheme. Moreover, there is no information provided about what areas in India will be having this service available after its launch.