Meta has just announced in a blogpost that it is shutting down its Express Wi-Fi program that was launched 8 years ago, back in 2016.
The program aimed to provide affordable Internet access in partnership with local Internet service providers (ISPs) and mobile operators in over 30 countries, including India and South Africa.
Meta used to help mobile operators, ISPs, and satellite operators to sell affordable Wi-Fi access to users in countries where users were still struggling to get Internet connection. Meta noted that they will continue to work with Express Wi-Fi partners so that the impact on connectivity is minimised.
Express Wi-Fi launched in 2016 in India as a cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, after the company’s older Free Basics program was rejected by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The paid Express Wi-Fi service currently allows users in underserved regions to access the Internet.
Meta has not provided an official reason for the shutdown of the service yet. However, a WSJ report suggests that the service was experiencing issues that could result in some users facing unnecessary charges.