After surrendering its plan to develop a solar-powered drone called Aquila and grounding a helicopter drone project to connect people in remote areas, Facebook has decided to gone back old technologies such as mesh Wi-Fi and Express Wi-Fi to bring internet to developing countries including India.
Express Wi-Fi is an app that lets unserved communities pay for internet service. The company is still working on efforts to reach the 3.8 billion people in the world who don’t have internet access, in order to grow its potential market.
Express Wi-Fi was initially available in five countries: India, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Indonesia. It launched in 2016 as a way for local ISPs and business people to sell and provide internet service in developing countries.
According to Facebook blog post, Facebook is developing software in Boston to manage networks more easily and to enable operators to deploy mesh Wi-Fi networks. It’s also working on a new routing framework at its California headquarters for large-scale Wi-Fi mesh networks, with up to 50 access points.
Facebook teams are also working in collaboration with Dubai, Israel, and Ireland for Express Wi-Fi, and is also running a pilot programme for the mesh Wi-Fi tech in Tanzania.