Social media major Facebook today announced new partnerships with D-Vois and Netplus to help expand internet access across India. The internet service providers (ISP) will be using Facebook Connectivity’s Express Wi-Fi platform to launch public Wi-Fi hotspots across Bangalore and several cities of Punjab, respectively, to provide people with fast, affordable, and reliable internet over Wi-Fi.
Express Wi-Fi is a software platform developed by Facebook Connectivity that enables mobile operators, satellite operators, and internet service providers to build, grow, and monetize their Wi-Fi businesses in a sustainable and scalable way, while providing their customers with a faster, higher-quality and more affordable internet. The platform is used by partners in more than 30 countries, connecting millions of people around the world. In India, the platform has already been deployed by eight partners, providing public Wi-Fi options to people across 12 states. During the current COVID crisis in India, Facebook also leveraged the Express Wi-Fi partner networks to share COVID-related information from credible sources with micro communities and towns across India.
Even as more people come online in India, access to fast and reliable internet remains a challenge, especially at public places, a gap that partners can help bridge with the Express Wi-Fi platform. The two new partnerships with D-Vois and Netplus will not just create further avenues for people, communities, and businesses to seamlessly connect with one another, but will also spur economic opportunities with the potential to fuel growth and innovation within local economies.
“Affordable, high-quality internet access is an essential ingredient to fueling the digital economy and enhancing access to jobs, education, healthcare and more,” said Manish Chopra, Director and Head of Partnerships, Facebook India. “From Dharavi in Mumbai to Shillong, Aizawl, Vadodara, Rajkot, and many other towns and cities, the Express Wi-Fi platform is helping expand internet connectivity in the country, enabling economic opportunities, innovation, and expression for people, businesses, and communities alike. D-Vois and Netplus will help unleash new opportunities for users and micro-entrepreneurs in both Bangalore and key cities of Punjab, and we’re thrilled to have them as partners on this exciting journey,” added Chopra.
D-VoiS is one of India’s leading ISPs, with a presence spanning 60 cities across the country. D-Vois, which operates its broadband services under the brand ION, has signed a partnership with Facebook in Bangalore, where it has deployed approximately 1,000 access points. The company provides Wi-Fi coverage across key government buildings, hospitals, streets, and other high footfall public areas.
“ION is excited to partner with Facebook to deploy the Express Wi-Fi platform and establish public Wi-Fi hotspots in Bangalore. Started almost seven years ago, ION’s public Wi-Fi project is paving the way for internet access for the general public. ION plans to expand public Wi-Fi to thousands of hotspots at restaurants, bus-stands, malls, cafes, hospitals, and other public spaces,” said Ramesh Sathyanarayana, Founder, D-vois Communications.
Netplus Broadband, the internet arm of Fastway Group, is one of the leading ISPs in India. It offers high-speed internet through FTTH platform to residential small and medium businesses, and corporate customers in all major cities and townships of Punjab, Chandigarh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Utrakhand, Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh through the optic fiber network of 25000 kms.
Prem Ojha, Group CEO, Fastway, said, “Partnering with Facebook to launch Express Wi-Fi aligns with our mission of enabling high-quality broadband connectivity for everyone, everywhere. With Express Wi-Fi, we aim to empower people with good Wi-Fi connectivity at all times. The Express Wi-Fi services will be available at several high footfall public areas such as malls, hospitals, bus stands, and market complexes across the cities of Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala, and Bhatinda. This initiative will also complement the PM WANI initiative to extend Wi-Fi services to every citizen.”
Express Wi-Fi is part of Facebook Connectivity, which focuses on enabling better, broader global connectivity, with the goal of bringing more people online to a faster internet. Facebook Connectivity includes a team of telecom and tech experts and engineers who work closely with partners around the world including internet service providers, mobile network operators, nonprofits and more to develop programs, technologies and business models that increase the availability and affordability of high-quality internet.