BARCELONA -- MWC19 -- Facebook expanded its presence in the world of communications when Nokia today announced it has joined the webscale giant's Express Wi-Fi Technology Partner program, originally unveiled in August 2018.
The Facebook program, which debuted with Arista Networks, Cambium Networks and Arris-owned Ruckus Wireless, is designed to help access point vendors build WiFi hardware that's compatible with Express Wi-Fi. Other Facebook programs designed to decrease the digital divide across the globe by bringing fixed-access and wireless connectivity to the approximately 3.8 billion people worldwide without Internet connectivity include Terragraph, Open Cellular, Open Transport Networks, and rural access.
Under its new deal, Nokia -- which about a year ago began working with Facebook on fixed-wireless technologies for Terragraph -- now is an Express Wi-Fi Technology Partner meaning it can build network hardware and software that's compatible with Facebook's Express Wi-Fi.
"We share Facebook's commitment to bring connectivity to the many people of our world who, for reasons of affordability or lack of infrastructure, have no access to Internet services," said Kathrin Buvac, president of Nokia Enterprise and chief strategy officer, in the release. "We are pleased to add our AirScale Wi-Fi platform to the Express Wi-Fi Technology Partner program and look forward to further collaborations with Facebook and its partners to create innovative technologies that help people connect."
Nokia plans to provide its carrier-grade AirScale Wi-Fi platform with a cloud-based WiFi controller, along with several plug-n-play WiFi access point products and modules. Nokia designed AirScale Wi-Fi for simple deployment by service providers without licensed spectrum; this should accelerate deployment in rural regions of the world or impoverished areas with little to no broadband infrastructure.
"The AirScale portfolio of Wi-Fi products will be a strong addition to the program and will help to bring affordable Wi-Fi solutions to emerging markets," said Dan Rabinovitsj, vice president of Facebook Connectivity, in a statement.
Currently, the Express Wi-Fi program is available in Ghana, India, Nigeria, Kenya, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania and Indonesia.
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