In August, Facebook announced it was rebooting its Free Basics service in India under a new brand and model known as Express Wifi that allowed users to buy data cheaply from ISPs. Facebook was to then offer these ISPs software to help them sell data at a 15% commission on each sale. At the same time, the ISPs will work to provide internet service in rural areas, which can be accessed via public Wi-Fi hotspots. The success of the project in India was to act as a launching pad for the service in other developing nations across the world, which saw Facebook pilot the same in Nigeria.
Google has today announced a new service in India called Google Station, seeking to offer free wi-fi to malls, transit stations, universities and cafes, a move aimed at increasing the number of people on Google’s platforms. Google currently has 53 hotspots in Indian train stations and hopes to grow the number to 100 more users. The service will be available to 10 Million users daily.
Facebook’s Express Wi-Fi was launched with a similar aim of getting users not on the platform to sign up and to have Facebook as one of the first sites they access the internet. Google says the success of the service in India will see a similar roll-out in the Philippines and Indonesia.