Co-authored by Ashley Mohney

In large urban areas, it’s easy to take connectivity for granted. For most city dwellers, access to speedy broadband internet is as close as your nearest smartphone, but for much of the world, that’s not the case. The digital divide is real. According to the 2019 EIU Internet Inclusivity Index commissioned by Facebook, about 3.8 billion people don’t have fast, affordable and reliable internet access.

Connectivity has never been more important and extending the internet to underserved areas offers tremendous opportunities for economic growth. Historically, it’s been difficult for operators to meet demand for internet access and data-intensive content, particularly in rural areas.

The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) predicts that 68% of the Middle East and Africa’s population, 38% of Asia Pacific’s population and 31% of Latin America’s population will still be without access to the internet by 2022. Public Wi-Fi programs and progress for both cellular and Wi-Fi technologies have the potential to help service providers and governments connect the next billion people.

Our team has the lofty goal to positively impact 1 billion lives by 2025. Cisco has a history of connecting the unconnected, and we’re happy to announce that we’re now teaming up with Facebook to work together towards bringing more people online to a faster internet. Cisco is joining Facebook’s Express Wi-Fi Technology Partner Program and will now be compatible with Express Wi-Fi.

Cisco + Facebook Express Wi-Fi

Express Wi-Fi is part of Facebook Connectivity, a collection of programs, technologies and partnerships designed to increase the availability, affordability and awareness of high-quality internet access. With Express Wi-Fi, local entrepreneurs, equipment manufacturers, mobile network operators and service providers can build, grow and monetize their Wi-Fi businesses in a sustainable and scalable way. With our market-leading wireless technology, Cisco is a natural fit for this program.

Through the Express Wi-Fi program, service providers, small businesses, enterprise organizations and governments work with local communities and entrepreneurs to extend Wi-Fi coverage. Facebook helps by providing a comprehensive and free of charge Software as a Service (SaaS) platform for launching and operating Wi-Fi networks. Cisco will leverage this platform and offer wireless network solutions that are compatible with Express Wi-Fi, helping to bring more people online and improve the internet experience. Express Wi-Fi offers another avenue for Cisco to help our service provider partners deliver sustainable, high quality public Wi-Fi connectivity by providing compatible “out-of-the-box” network solutions that are ready to integrate with Express Wi-Fi.

Powering the Future

For more than 20 years, Cisco has led the industry with Wi-Fi innovations. Just a few weeks ago, Facebook joined Cisco on stage as we launched Internet for the Future, a technology strategy for building a new internet — one designed to push digital innovation beyond the performance, economic and power consumption limitations of current infrastructure.

In joining the Express Wi-Fi program and teaming up with Facebook, which is driving many additional connectivity initiatives to bring more people online to faster speeds, Cisco continues to bring the next level of Wi-Fi innovation to connecting the unconnected around the globe.


Learn more

Please contact Keith Mulhall (kmulhall@cisco.com) and Michael Fletcher (mfletch@fb.com) for more information on how Cisco and Facebook can partner with you to deliver sustainable, high quality public Wi-Fi services.


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