Facebook's Express WiFi initiative, launched last year, now has around 1,000 hotspots, according to internal documents reported by The Ken (paywall). Like Google, Facebook provides software support for these hotspots while partner ISPs themselves run the network; revenue is then shared between the ISPs and Facebook, the report says. So far, the social media giant has partnered with Tikona, AirJaldi, Shaildhar, and Netvision. Tikona is the only ISP on which Express WiFi is already active, according to the report. This makes sense, since Tikona essentially delivers broadband to consumers mostly wirelessly — instead of using cable in the last mile, they use a network of long-range WiFi transmitters. Tikona is therefore primed to deliver public WiFi with the infrastructure it has already laid out. Facebook told The Ken that it will use revenue from ISP partners to invest in network expansion. Data protection and monetization Facebook plans to monetize Express WiFi in two ways: one way is by collecting actual money from users through retailers. This can happen through coupon purchases at small stores, where users can pay with cash. That way, WiFi access isn't restricted to people who can use digital payments. The other way of monetizing is similar to what Google is doing: ads. Facebook will place ads on the captive portal where users login with their mobile number and a one-time passcode sent over SMS. A Tikona representative told The Ken that the ISP will be in charge of collecting and securing this information, and that it will not…
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