After launching Wi-Fi Express in five countries, Facebook made available this week the service in another country: Ghana. The action was done in partnership with Vodafone Ghana and the paid app reached the suburban communities of Nima, James Town, Kanda, Suinoculture Farm and Abossey Okine in the capital Accra.
The act is part of the Internet.Org (or Free Basics) initiative and the goal is to provide Wi-Fi connectivity for people living in some remote communities that do not have fiber optic cables for a low price. The arrival of the Wi-Fi Express by Facebook and Vodafone in Ghana was praised by Vincent Sowah Odotei, the country’s deputy minister of communications in an interview for local TV.
To launch Wi-Fi Express in a market, Facebook needs to partner with local telecommunications networks and service providers, who are responsible for delivering low-cost data packets to users in these isolated regions. In Ghana, these options start at around $ 0.20.
A few months ago, Facebook had announced a technology partner program for Express Wi-Fi, an initiative that would allow access point manufacturers a way for their hardware to better connect to Wi-Fi Express, improving quality and the experience of the application users.
More recently, in addition to the sudden revelation of the arrival of Wi-Fi Express in Ghana, the company also seems to have silently expanded the Internet.Org ( renamed Free Basics ) in the territories of Morocco and Laos.
The project aims to offer free access to certain internet services for developing countries, but with certain content limitations. However, Free Basics was banned in India in 2016- and since then Facebook has been wary of its efforts to bring this kind of connectivity to needy regions.