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Facebook launches Express Wi-Fi in India

The social networking giant also plans to deploy some 20,000 additional hotpots around India in the new few months.

Facebook says Express Wi-Fi is part of its global initiative to spread internet connectivity.

Facebook on Thursday announced on an official blog post the commercial launch of Express W-Fi in India, a service that offers "fast, reliable and affordable" data connections via local hotspots.

According to the post, Facebook touts Express Wi-Fi as a solution that provides "a low-cost, high bandwidth alternative" for getting online and to access apps, download and stream content. People interested in using Express Wi-Fi can sign up with a retailer and purchase a daily, weekly or monthly data pack. It's unclear exactly how much its costs to use Express Wi-Fi, and Facebook's release says rates will be set by its partners.

The social networking giant also announced a partnership with Bharti Airtel to deploy an additional 20,000 hotspots over the next few months, enabling millions more Indians to be connected.

Facebook says its goal is to "grow the number of Express Wi-Fi hotspots in India rapidly." Currently only 360 million Indians, out of a population of 1.3 billion, have internet access, according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI's) Performance Indicator Report.

Facebook has been testing the service in India since last year. With the launch today, Express Wi-Fi is now live in five countries: India, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and Indonesia.