Meta (formerly Facebook) has announced that it is shutting down its Express Wi-Fi program in few countries including India. Meta‘s Express Wi-Fi provided affordable internet access in partnership with local telecom providers in several countries. Launched in 2016, Express Wi-Fi is a platform that was developed by Meta Connectivity that has enabled mobile and satellite operators and internet service providers to “build, grow, and monetise their Wi-Fi business in a sustainable and scalable way, while providing their customers with fast, affordable, and reliable internet access over Wi-Fi."
“After more than five years in operation, we are planning to wind down our Express Wi-Fi program," Meta said in a blog post. “While we are concluding our work on this program to focus on developing other projects, we remain committed to working with partners across the telecom ecosystem to deliver better connectivity," the company said. Meta, while giving the news said that as it concludes its work on the program later this year, the company will work closely with Express Wi-Fi partners to minimise impact to their business and their customer’s connectivity.
Meta did not provide a reason for shutting down the service. The company has said that as it ends work on this program to focus on developing other projects, it will “remain committed to working with partners across the telecom ecosystem to deliver better connectivity." However, a recent report suggested that some users were facing unnecessary charges in several areas. The Express Wi-Fi website still lists all the features and benefits of the Express Wi-Fi service.
Express Wi-Fi from Meta was launched in India in 2016 itself as a cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) platform. The paid service currently allows users in undeserved regions to access the internet. At the time of launch, Express Wi-Fi was available across about 700 hotspots across four states including Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Meghalaya.