Washington: As the debate on net neutrality in India heats up, several Indian firms are pulling out of Internet.org, a charity headed by Facebook to help spread internet access to parts of the world where many people lack connectivity.
After NDTV, Newshunt, and the Times Group pulled out some or all of their services from Internet.org due to concerns over net neutrality, travel website Cleartrip has become the latest firm to exit the deal, citing same concerns, reported The Verge.
The concept of net neutrality had been a hotly debated topic in the United States last month as the FCC adopted more stringent rules. The issue is now being widely debated in India too.
Mobile network operator Airtel, along with local startups, had been planning on creating a platform where startups would pay for data usage, making their services free for users. However, this would be similar to the sponsored data initiatives seen in the U.S., which the FCC recently categorized as an unacceptable form of “paid prioritization.” Internet.org worked the same way as it provided users free access to a selection of 39 “essential” services, including Facebook.
The discussion surrounding the topic has raised several questions like, why Internet.org is being publicised as a charity rather than a business venture and whether it will impinge on net neutrality in an attempt to spread internet access.