Indian companies pull out of Internet.org initiative

MANILA, Philippines – A number of Indian companies have stepped away from the Internet.org initiative, which aims to improve Internet access in a number of countries.

According to the The Huffington Post, the companies – Cleartrip, NDTV, Newshunt and the Times Group – cited net neutrality as their main reason for wanting to exit the Internet.org program.

Net neutrality is the concept that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and governments should not discriminate or charge different rates for different types of data on the Internet.

The Next Web added supporters of net neutrality in India convinced others to send over 600,000 emails to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Even if the emails get the TRAI to act, the group can only recommend actions to the government body – the Department of Telecom.

In a statement, Cleartrip explained that “the recent debate around #NetNeutrality gave us pause to rethink our approach to Internet.org and the idea of large corporations getting involved with picking and choosing who gets access to what and how fast.”

The company added, "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."

The announcements follow a day after major online retailer Flipkart withdrew from mobile company Airtel's Zero program, which would also givesubscribers access to select services for free.

Internet.org offers internet access to a limited portion of the internet for free in India, and covers a total of 37 websites or apps aside than Facebook. – Rappler.com

Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.

image