Meta will switch off its Express WiFi project this year, the company announced last week. Originally launched in 2016, the project was aimed at connecting regions where other forms of connectivity, like ADSL and fibre-optic networks, aren’t readily available or established.
It’s not going to just switch it off without any warning. The company said it’s “winding down” — but how that directly affects current customers is anyone’s guess. Unless you’re Kenya, then you haven’t had access to the service since the end of 2020. So consider this a warning if you or your business is currently using Express WiFi.
Time to shop for Express WiFi alternatives
This might come as a surprise to some, seeing as it’s only been a year since Meta, then Facebook, had plans to expand Express WiFi reach with a satellite operator, Eutelsat Konnect. The affected countries spanning over multiple continents and even includes us, here in SA.
Is it just us or does this seem like Meta is strategically backing out of the satellite internet game while SpaceX’s Starlink started gaining traction? After dropping the news of its service winding down, the company was quick to add, “While we are concluding our work on this program to focus on developing other projects, we remain committed to working with partners across the telecom ecosystem to deliver better connectivity.”
It wasn’t as quick in saying how it plans to do that. Maybe that’s what the extension of the 45,000km 2Africa undersea cable is for?