Facebook's Express Wi-fi program now includes certified hardware makers

With its Express Wi-Fi program, Facebook partners with local ISPs, mobile network operators and entrepreneurs to bring internet access to under-served areas.

Why social media fatigue is spreading Dan Patterson and Jason Hiner discuss how early adopters of social media are turning away from it, and what that could mean for the future of Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms.

Facebook on Tuesday announced a new hardware manufacturer certification program for Express Wi-Fi, one of Facebook's multiple connectivity initiatives.

The Next IT Transformation

What you need to know before implementing edge computing

These are the questions your firm should ask before going down the route of edge analytics and processing.

Read More

The first wi-fi vendors to join the program include Arista, Cambium Networks, and Ruckus Networks. By certifying access point hardware, Facebook is aiming to improve the service quality provided by Express Wi-Fi, and to make it easier for operators to set up and manage hot spots.

Also: Why Facebook is powerless to stop its own descent

Express Wi-Fi was launched in 2015 as a way to enable local ISPs, mobile network operators and entrepreneurs to bring fast and affordable internet access to under-served areas. In places with Express Wi-Fi hotspots, consumers typically sign up with a participating small business and purchase a prepaid data pack. The program is currently operating with 10 partners in five countries: India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania.

Also: Group at Facebook reportedly challenging its 'intolerant' liberal culture CNET

The new certification program should address a couple specific challenges the Express Wi-Fi program has faced, Facebook explained Tuesday. The certified hardware should do a better job detecting registration pages, ad they should more accurately account for the amount of wi-fi data consumed. The certified access points will also able to account for different traffic classes, which should enable service providers to offer multiple tiers of service.

With more than 2 billion active users already and growth stalling, Facebook's connectivity initiatives offer one of the few ways the social network can find new users.

Related stories: