Express Wi-Fi seeks to connect those in underdeveloped regions to help more individuals able to communicate over the internet. With 3.8 billion people worldwide not connected to the internet, the goal is to offer reasonably priced, reliable and fast internet access to unserved and underserved areas. Express Wi-Fi is intended to help those who haven’t used the internet understand its value in communication, education, organization, health and more. The use of internet is hoped to improve employment and opportunities for people in underserved areas.
Service in new areas is achieved in part by way of partnerships with local carriers, ISPs and entrepreneurs. Cambium, an access point manufacturer and partner to the Facebook program, supplies much of the hardware for the program. However, other access point manufacturers are allowed to make Express Wi-Fi compatible equipment. India, Indonesia, Kenya and Nigeria were among the first countries with regions served by Express Wi-Fi in May 2017.
Along with the efforts to expand internet connectivity for unconnected areas, Facebook is easing cellular data costs by offering certain sites for free. Free Basics by Facebook helps those who don’t pay for full internet access to access job listing sites, health education resources and local information through cooperating carriers.
Express Wi-Fi is a product of internet.org, a partnership between Facebook, Ericsson, Opera Software, MediaTek, Samsung, Nokia and Qualcomm with the goal to provide affordable internet services in developing and disadvantaged areas of the world.