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Facebook partners BSNL to install 100 free Wi-Fi hotspots in rural region

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The social media giant, Facebook has announced that it has joined hands with Bhartiya Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), in order to boost the ambitious ‘Digital India’ drive by Govt. of India by setting up free 100 Wi-Fi hotspots in the rural regions of Western and Southern India.

Furhter adding to the announcement, the network revealed that it will sponsor Rs. 5 crores per annum to keep these Wi-Fi hotspots up and running.

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Commenting on the partnership, BSNL Chairman & MD Anupam Shrivastava siad, “Facebook has partnered with us to sponsor 100 wi-fi hotspots in villages across west and southern India. They will pay Rs 5 lakh for BSNL bandwidth for each hotspot per annum.”

“We have already set up 25 hotspots under the agreement. Facebook is only sponsoring them and not taking any revenue share. Quad Zen will set up these hotspots and handle sales. There is revenue share model between BSNL and Quad Zen,” Shrivastava said.

Facebook also revealed that it has signed an agreement with BSNL for three years, which can be furhter extended for two more years. Joining the campaign, members of parliaments are also showing their interests in setting up Wi-Fi hotspots in village areas. For the same, they have adopted under Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) to make it a model village by 2016.

Explaining in detail, Anupam Shrivastava said, “Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Najma Heptulla and Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan are sponsoring BSNL bandwidth for wi-fi hotspots in the villages that they have adopted under SAGY. BSNL approached MPs explaining this model under MPLAD scheme and over 50 MPs have responded positively to it.”

He said that the sponsered Wi-Fi services will be installed additionally, while, BSNL will set-up 2,500 hotspots in association with Quad Zen and Trimax.

“With Facebook and MPs coming forward, we are being able to set up wi-fi hotspots in area where it is not commercially feasible to run them. We are quickly extending optical fibre connectivity to these hotspots,” Shrivastava said.

The company’s commercial model includes 2,000 Wi-Fi hotspots by Quad Zen in West and Southern part of the country, meanehile, 500 hotspots by Twrimax in North India.

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