By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
The ramping down of Facebook Connectivity’s free ExpressWiFi hotspot management platform last year left dozens of Wi-Fi hotspot operators stranded looking for a new, low-cost Wi-Fi service management solution. Indio Networks has stepped up to deliver a replacement solution that already serves close to 3,000 former Facebook ExpressWiFi-managed hotspots across the globe, the company says.
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Charitable IT platforms and services delivered for free may sound like a great idea – but in reality such projects often leave recipients in dire straits when money or political motivations run out. Case in point: The Facebook ExpressWiFi free hotspot management platform, the end of which was announced early last year as Meta ramped down its Facebook Connectivity business unit.
Thankfully Indio Networks accepted the challenge of taking over where ExpressWiFi left off – and launched its new Indio Connect management platform in November of 2022. Indio Networks now says it has successfully migrated close to 3,000 former ExpressWiFi-powered Wi-Fi hotspots onto the Indio Connect platform, which is largely equivalent to ExpressWiFi.
“We’re delighted to report that we’re now running the bulk of the formerly ExpressWiFi-powered hotspots on our platform. It has not been an easy transition for our new clients to go from a free to a commercial platform because it has of course impacted their business case in providing low-cost or free Wi-Fi services. But we believe we have threaded the needle with a low-cost and still highly effective Wi-Fi hotspot management solution,” says Rishi Ghare, CEO of Indio Networks.
Rishi Ghare says Indio Connect has been upgraded to include a feature package similar to that of ExpressWiFi including a simple UI for hotspot users as well as simple and convenient means of payment. He also says that further feature enhancements and improvements will follow later this year.
VSAT-based hotspot operators serving otherwise entirely unconnected communities in remote areas have been the first to adopt Indio Network’s replacement solution. “The VSAT-based hotspots located in Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, and Tanzania are lifelines to their communities. Sometimes users will walk four or five kilometers to get to these hotspots,” says Rishi Ghare.
“Such hotspot networks deliver commercial Internet services, and for a while they were unable to connect users because they were simply not operational. Now the revenues are starting to come back up,” he says. One of Indio’s main VSAT-based clients is large US-based satellite operator providing satellite-backhauled community Wi-Fi to millions of users across the globe. Other former ExpressWiFi service providers now using Indio’s platform include Worldshore, based in Kerala, India.
Indio Networks mission is to become a major provider of affordable and effective community Wi-Fi technology and the company is already well on its way to achieving this goal. “Community Wi-Fi networks are not big revenue generators but have a big impact on the lives of many people living in areas that have for the most part been abandoned by other ISPs or where the cost of other Internet services are too high to connect everyone with a need,” Rishi Ghare says. Indio Networks is a Wi-Fi NOW partner.