Facebook Launching Wi-Fi Service In India? Why is Every Biggie Rushing to Offer Internet to Indians?


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Google is doing it, Microsoft is doing it and now even Facebook wants to do it – they all want to offer low cost ( or even free) internet to Indians. Facebook is especially serious about bringing internet to nook and corner of India. According to various media sources, Facebook Vice President for mobile and global access policy Kevin Martin said at the India Economic Convention 2015 that the social-networking giant is planning to launch a special Wi-Fi service in India which would aid in subsidizing the cost of accessing internet.

Martin said, “We are rolling out a kind of Wi-Fi service at a lower cost which is trying to adjust cost issue in other countries and looking out to do that in India

The question though is – why are all these biggies so desperate to bring internet to Indians?

The answer is not too difficult.

India remains the only large untapped market for companies like Google, Microsoft and Facebook. And unlike many other countries, the problems in India are fundamental – infrastructure, last mile connectivity etc.

India’s potential for these internet biggies is so huge that there is no way any company can ignore it. These companies have very little chance of making headway in other large market… China. Local Chinese companies already offer services that are parallel. Baidu offers what Google offers,  Renren offers what Facebook offers and Sina Weibo offers what Twitter offers (albeit in local language).

With more than billion people, many of whom speak English, India forms ideal market for these companies, but without internet, nothing much can happen.

If these companies rely on natural adoption curve of internet in India, it will take them atleast next decade to reach anywhere. Rather these companies are now taking initiative and trying to address the most fundamental problem – internet access.

And that’s just one aspect.

Imagine when these companies themselves start offering internet, how easy it will be for them to push their own services through their own internet pipe!

Facebook’s internet.org initiative has met with stiff resistance, but Facebook remains defiant. According to Facebook, internet.org does not beak net neutrality in any way, so there is no question of withdrawing it.

Now, with launch of low-cost Wi-Fi they want to ensure that Indian’s don’t look anywhere else!

What’s your take?

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