Facebook never gives up! Even after the government of India tried to ban Facebook’s Free Basics  program, the most popular social media platform didn’t change its mind. They simply changed their strategy. The purpose of Facebook’s Free Basics program in India was to offer customers unlimited access to internet services. The Indian government felt this was a violation of net neutrality. Both sides have different ideas and opinions regarding this violation. The most contentious point being made by the government of India was that Facebook was granting unlimited internet access but only to a restricted part of the internet. For India, the best solution would be to give a limited and free access to the entire World Wide Web. The program was banned by the government of India but, a few months later, the popular social media platform announced a new plan to bring internet connection in India.

Facebook’s second internet connectivity program, known as Express Wifi, was officially presented to the public in the summer of 2016. The Facebook team describes the program as follows: “we’re working with carriers, internet service providers, and local entrepreneurs to help expand connectivity to underserved locations around the world.” (Source: https://info.internet.org/en/story/expresswifi/). More people will obtain information on news, education, health, job opportunities, entertainment and, of course, a new way to communicate with their Facebook “friends”. This is the innovation that Zuckerberg brought to India, where a portion of the population was excluded from an internet connection. The humanitarian aspect is not the only reason why Express Wifi is so important. Economics is also crucial. Local entrepreneurs, Internet Service Providers and operators can take advantage of this program enhancing local investments. In addition to this, guess who also wins? You got it. Facebook will increase its presence in India obtaining more users, more engagement  and more traffic.

Even though the Express Wifi program is already active and present in India, Facebook stresses  that the company still must conduct further testing to improve the connections and the internet service. No one knows exactly in which areas Express Wifi is already active and details about pricing are still reserved.

In order to implement the program Facebook is cooperating with local internet service providers and mobile operators. In particular they are collaborating with state-owned RailTel. This Indian company offers internet services using the fibre optic cable which covers almost 70% of the country.

Considering what has happened over the past few months some advocates are suggesting that Facebook modify its Express Wifi product to grant access to the entire World Wide Web. Facebook has not rejected this proposal so, maybe, in the future Facebook will provide a full ISP (Internet Service Provider) service.

iRISEmedia.com is a Toronto based digital marketing agency and SEO company, specializing in Social Media and Internet Marketing. Our team helps clients increase their reach and profitability by developing and implementing customized and targeted online and Social Media Marketing strategies. We are located in Toronto, Ontario.

The author of the post, Elena Greci earned her B.A. in Communication and Marketing in 2009 from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy. After she gained her B.A. in traditional marketing she discovered her passion for Digital Marketing . Elena then attended the prestigious school Gruppo MIDI and became certified in Social and Digital Marketing in 2016. Elena has been interning at iRISEmedia since November 2016. Her goal is to expand her knowledge and experience in the North American Digital Media Marketing sector.

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