New York, May 4 (IANS) Facebook on Thursday launched Express WiFi service that offers Internet facility through public hotspots to users in rural parts of India. Also Read - New York: Indian-Origin Man Kills Daughter, Mother-In-Law In Double Murder-Suicide

The social network has partnered with telecom operator Bharti Airtel that plans to bring an additional 20,000 hotspots online, starting in the next few months, TechCrunch reported. Also Read - Reliance Jio Says Receiving Port Out Requests, Alleges Airtel, Vodafone Running False Propaganda

The launch comes a year after Facebook put an end to the controversial “Free Basics” programme that drew severe criticism from advocates of net neutrality. Also Read - New York: Car Drives Into Protesters at Black Lives Matter March in Manhattan, Many Injured

Facebook is currently working with a number of local ISPs and 500 local entrepreneurs.

“Our strategy has always been that these programmes work if they are financially sustainable for the partners we work with,” the report quoted James Beldock, the company’s product manager, as saying.

Facebook has launched the service commercially in Kenya earlier.

“WiFi, of course, is a far easier onramp to the Internet than most other means of getting online,” Beldock stressed.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.