US-based social networking giant Facebook on 31 October 2015 partnered with state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) to create 100 WiFi hotspots in rural areas of western and southern India.
During the partnership, Facebook will invest 5 crore rupees per annum for buying bandwidth from BSNL. The hotspots will be set up by BSNL selected vendor Quad Zen and Trimax.
Under the joint initiative, Facebook has chosen 100 villages to provide Wi-Fi hotspots on a revenue-sharing model. The social media major will spend 5 lakh per site a year for buying bandwidth from BSNL for a period of three years.
Around 25 villages are selected for the pilot project in southern and western India. As per the terms of partnership, the project can be extended by another two years from the present three-year partnership.
As per the project, the first half an hour will be free for the consumers. In addition, the WiFi network will have a capacity to allow an average of 2000 individuals to latch on at the same time.
Qaud Zen will be responsible for equipment sourcing and sales and marketing initiatives for the south-west region while Trimax will work out for the northern region in an open process.
BSNL expects to complete the WiFi rollout by 31 December 2015.
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Who: Facebook and BSNL
When: 31 October 2015