Express Wifi by Facebook is empowering local entrepreneurs to provide quality internet access to their communities and make a steady income. Working with local internet service providers or mobile operators, they’re able to use software provided by Facebook to connect their communities.
The programme is currently live at 150 locations in five countries across two continents.
In Africa, Facebook already has partners in Tanzania, Nigeria, and South Africa, with more deployments planned soon, including Ghana.
“This is a sustainable approach to bringing connectivity to underserved communities in countries across Africa – it is a business model that will grow itself because it empowers entrepreneurs to serve their communities,” says Chris Daniels, VP of Internet.org at Facebook.
This programme has also improved the skills of local entrepreneurs who work with Facebook and its ISP partners to build, install and maintain local wifi networks.
“We’re encouraged by the progress we’ve made – but also inspired by what we’ve seen in the community,” says Daniels. “It’s exciting to see local economies transformed by connectivity as people use the internet to enhance existing businesses or create new ones.”
First FbStart Meetup in Africa
More than 150 developers and entrepreneurs gathered for Facebook’s first FbStart event in Africa on 15 November. During this half-day event, attendees met the Facebook team, learned about Facebook platform tools for developers, and saw how Facebook works with mobile app start-ups through the FbStart programme.
“It would not be possible for us to accomplish our mission of making the world more open and connected without the help of developers and other partners in our community,” says Emeka Afigbo, Strategic Products Partnerships Manager, Facebook. “We were delighted by the excellent turnout for the workshop and excited by the possibilities of the great ideas we saw from the delegates at the FbStart event.”
Population Density Map data
Government policymakers, academics and local organisations will all benefit from access to this rich dataset, with potential applications such as socio-economic research, infrastructure planning, and risk assessment for natural disasters.
To start, Facebook has shared data sets for Malawi, South Africa, Ghana, Haiti, and Sri Lanka, and they can be found on the website of CIESIN at Columbia University. More countries will be added over the coming months.