After Google and Facebook, it looks like China s software and services provider Alibaba is aiming to offer seamless internet connectivity in India. In order to achieve that, the company is reportedly in talks with telecom operators and Wi-Fi providers to offer affordable options along with some free of cost connectivity schemes. Also Read - Jack Ma's Alibaba fined record $2.7B by ChinaAlso Read - Safer Internet Day 2021: Here's how you can ensure your online security
We will definitely look at the opportunity to work together with service providers or even some Wi-Fi providers. We are trying to offer lower cost data to users and better connectivity, even free of cost connectivity. Wi-Fi providers and other players can be potentials and we are in talk, Jack Huang, President of Overseas Business, Alibaba Mobile Business told Business Insider India. He further suggested that the company will be looking at regions which suffer from connectivity issues. Also Read - Mobile internet services suspended on Delhi borders till February 2
We actually think in geographic way because in India not every state is suffering from connectivity problem so we will focus more on providing this kind of services to states that are suffering more and also we will have comprehensive analysis on already existing consumers who will actually need this kind of service. Huang added. BGR India has reached out to Alibaba for more information on its India plans. ALSO READ: Reliance Jio Fiber FTTH 1Gbps broadband tariff plans to start at Rs 500: Report
To recall, Facebook had proposed a similar program which was aimed at offering free internet connectivity to regions with low reach. However, with its Free Basics later renamed as internet.org, the company appeared to be in contradiction to the idea of net neutrality as it offered access to just a select number of websites, which would sign up for the program. It is to be noted that the Indian telecom industry is yet to take its final stance on the issue of net neutrality which promises fair internet access to all. As the issue is still under consideration, Facebook s initiatives have been shelved.
Reliance Jio, on the other hand, recently announced its highly lucrative 4G services in the country, and is also working on offering better internet connectivity through its fiber-based broadband service. The Reliance Jio Fiber fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) service promises to offer broadband speeds up to 1Gbps and is currently under testing in some regions of the country. Meanwhile, Google in partnership with RailTel has set up free Wi-Fi hotspots across major railway stations in India and aims to scale up the reach to 400 stations. Facebook has also conducted pilot test of its Express Wi-Fi service in India. ALSO READ: Alibaba to invest $200 million to help push Paytm s new online marketplace: Report
It is unclear if Alibaba will be adopting similar strategies or offer content bundled with usage of Wi-Fi connectivity in the country. However, it is to be noted that the current rules do not allow anyone to connect content with free data and telecom regulator is still under the process of defining net neutrality for India.