Internet.org Being Dumped In India On Basis Of Net Neutrality
Facebook’s initiative Internet.org had debuted in India a few weeks ago, and has taken a U-turn with the emerging debate about net neutrality. Indian companies like Cleartip, NDTV and Times Group have succumbed to support net neutrality, which means they have opted out of the support for Internet.org program.
Internet.org is a Facebook initiative focused on delivering high-speed and free Internet to underdeveloped areas, where Internet accessibility and affordability is negligible. While it was welcomed initially in the developing areas of India, the recent debate erupted after Airtel’s Airtel Zero Program made India reconsider its stance. Airtel Zero allows select app makers bear the burden of data charges incurred by its customers.
A few weeks back, Facebook reached out and asked us to participate in theinitiative with the intention of helping us deliver one of our most affordable products to the more underserved parts of the country. Since there was absolutely zero money changing hands, we genuinely believed we were contributing to a social cause.
But the recent debate around #NetNeutrality gave us pause to rethink our approach toand the idea of large corporations getting involved with picking and choosing who gets access to what and how fast. What started off with providing a simple search service has us now concerned with influencing customer decision-making by forcing options on them, something that is against our core DNA.