Nokia announced today, that it has partnered with Facebook, as part of its Express WiFi platform. This is yet another partner being added to the platform, which is going to allow Facebook to bring Internet to even more people. Nokia was already partnering with Facebook Connectivity's initiatives, and now it is expanding that partnership.
There are currently around 3.8 billion people around the world that do not have access to the Internet. That is roughly about half of the world's population. Now it shows why Facebook is so adamant about bringing Internet to more uses. Getting more users online means, more people using Facebook. And that in-turn means more people seeing Facebook ads and interacting with Facebook posts and such.
Nokia says that it will be providing its carrier-grade AirScale WiFi platform, along with a cloud-based WiFi controller and multiple plug-n-play WiFi access point products to Facebook Connectivity in this partnership. This is going to make it easier for Facebook to roll out Express WiFi. This will make it simpler to rollout gigabit WiFi and enables "service providers without licensed spectrum to deliver a mobile-like customer experience."
While Express WiFi is primarily targeted at getting the next billion connected, it is also a platform that service providers and mobile network operators can use to build, operate, grow and monetize Internet access over WiFi in a scalable way. Not only allowing Internet access to expand, but allowing local communities and local entrepreneurs to get access to fast, affordable and reliable internet.
As of today, Facebook's Express WiFi program covers India, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania and Indonesia.
The president of Nokia Enterprise, Kathrin Buvac stated that "we share Facebook's commitment to bring connectivity to the many people of our world who, for reasons of affordability or lack of infrastructure, have no access to Internet services." Also stating that Nokia is "please to add our AirScale WiFi platform to the Express WiFi technology partner program". Nokia is also looking forward to working with Facebook in the future.
Nokia, this is the network division of Nokia not the division that makes smartphones, that is now part of HMD Global which is headquartered across the street from Nokia, literally. It's not a huge surprise to see Nokia here partnering with Facebook. While many people are going to scuff at Facebook offering up its Express WiFi, especially given the data leaks in the past year or so, gaining access to the Internet in low-income areas is still a big deal.
Facebook is not alone in trying to open up the Internet for all. Google has also been trying to bring the Internet to more low-income and remote areas of the world, through its Project Loon service. Both of these companies have a stake in more people getting access to the Internet, as it means more people will use their products and thus bring in even more revenue. But with a whopping 3.8 billion people still not having access to the Internet, there's still a lot of work that needs to be done.