The 'Express Wifi' program will allow smartphone owners to purchase data from local internet service providers.
(CCM) — In 2014, Facebook announced the launch of its Internet.org project, an initiative focused on providing underserved areas of the world with free basic internet services. In the two years since the program's launch, the company has struggled against some major roadblocks, including an all-out ban in India due to net neutrality violations earlier this year. Despite the numerous setbacks, reports released on Monday by the BBC confirm that Facebook has entered the next stage of its initiative with the launch of a new service called Express Wifi, a program that skirts around India's net neutrality laws by charging mobile users a small fee for unrestricted data and web access. A pilot version of the program is already available in 125 locations around India, with global rollout expected to continue through the end of the year.
"Express Wifi empowers local entrepreneurs to help provide quality internet access to their neighbors and make a steady income," Facebook stated on its Internet.org site. "When people are able to purchase fast, affordable, and reliable internet, they’re able to explore the range of information it has to offer, including news, education, health, job postings, entertainment, and communication tools like Facebook." Facebook is not the only company that is looking to make an impact on India's telecom industry. Earlier this year, Google also announced the introduction of high-speed WiFi at 23 train stations across the country. The company plans to increase this number to 400 stations by the end of this year.
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