Facebook may have started as a social media company, but these days, the Menlo Park-based firm is a fully fledged tech giant investing in a broad range of different industries. One of Facebook's major long-term strategies is bringing Internet connectivity to remote regions of the world and improving Internet service in areas which are barely connected to the World Wide Web. Just like Google, Facebook is investing a lot of resources in this endeavor to connect more people to the Internet and consequently have a larger pool of potential customers to attract.
Following that train of thought, the company's latest step in that plan is called Express Wifi. As the name suggests, this initiative entails Facebook facilitating Wi-Fi access to people living in areas with limited Internet connectivity. More specifically, the social media giant announced that it's working with both wireless carriers and broadband service providers, as well as smaller entrepreneurs to help bring better Internet connectivity to regions whose inhabitants are currently having trouble connecting to the World Wide Web. This program is currently limited to India, but Facebook's representatives stated that Express Wifi will expand to more regions "soon."
As a part of this initiative, Facebook is providing software and other resources to broadband providers, mobile operators, and local entrepreneurs, all of whom can use it to deliver a better Internet service to their customers. In a short release published earlier today, the social media giant explained that the ultimate goal of this initiative is to allow people better access to all kind of information, education, and other services available online. With that said, Express Wifi isn't a free initiative and is instead designed to offer affordable data packs which can be accessed via Wi-Fi connections.
Now, it's worth noting that this isn't the first time Facebook tried to facilitate Internet access in India. On paper, the company's Free Basics program sounded even better than Express Wifi as it promised free Internet access to all natives of the South Asian country. However, that initiative met an untimely end after the Indian government deemed it illegal for net neutrality violations. Back in early 2016, New Delhi ruled that Free Basics can only be allowed to exist as a paid service, which defeated the whole purpose of the program and caused it to shut down completely. While Facebook obviously hasn't explicitly asserted that Express Wifi is the company's answer to that ruling, the fact that this program first debuted in India is telling enough.