In yet another startling revelation, the DoT panel report on Net Neutrality has apparently opposed Facebook’s Internet.org initiative but supports services similar to Airtel Zero with prior clearance from TRAI.
Internet.org which provided users with access to online services at zero data charges came under fire for promoting select products. After several partner exits, Facebook opened up Internet.org to all developers.
While the DoT has said services such as Airtel Zero can be allowed it added that collaborations between telecom operators and content providers that enable gate-keeping roles should be actively discouraged.
While Facebook makes no money from content providers if they choose to offer their services on Internet.org, Airtel Zero makes money directly from app developers or website owners, thereby providing users access to those services at zero data charges.
The move to allow services such as Airtel Zero is bound to find resistance among Net Neutrality activists and while Facebook might have opened up its service to all developers, it still creates an unfair advantage for telecom operators considering that Internet.org is available only to Reliance users.