Mark Zuckerberg is a man of his word. Even after the debacle of his much ambitious internet.org in India, Facebook’s founder hasn’t forgotten about his mission to bring the entire world closer through the power of Internet. He is now back in the arena with another project called OpenCellular, an open source wireless platform that desires to improve the wireless connectivity in remote areas. Months after facing a heavy criticism against its Free Basics programme, the social media giant now aims to bring free Wi-Fi to Indian Railways.

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Earlier this month, when Facebook revealed that the company was testing express Wifi service in few of the remote areas in India. Now, it is evident that Facebook has big plans by offering Free WiFi to railway stations and rural areas to counter the growing influence of Google in the digital India.

R K Bahuguna, chairman and managing director of RailTel, communications arm of the Indian Railways, confirmed to the Economic Times that Facbook and Indian Railways were working to bring free Wi-Fi to stations across the country.

Indian Railways already has a programme partnered with Google with WiFi available in 19 stations already. Google aims to bring Wi-Fi to at least 100 stations by the year end.

Facebook has been doing some rigorous research work on its this initiative lately, and has even done a pilot across 125 rural locations for the same. It has even begun its negotiations with a number of internet firms in the effort to expand its Wi-Fi service in India.

While Facebook is planning to bring internet connectivity through drones, Google is planning on achieving this through big Balloons.

However, Facebook plans to extend its partnership with Railtel beyond just stations to also take villages on the board.

“Facebook India has approached us for the Wi-Fi initiative. We will engage with the company for the expansion of our internet access programme across railways stations to cover villages in the vicinity,” said Bahuguna.

 

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Ankur Chandra

A software engineer by education, Ankur is go-getter, who leaves no stones unturned to find a solution to a problem. He is passionate about technology and automobiles. And, is a big foodie at heart. Watching cartoons is his favourite off-field indulgence. At KnowStartup, he is an integral part of the editorial team.

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