Times Internet has announced its partial withdrawal from the Internet.org initiative, and has committed to fully withdraw from it if its competitors agree to do so, all in support of Net Neutrality.
Rival NDTV too has decided to pull out of the Facebook initiative, with co-founder and executive co-chairperson Prannoy Roy announcing the move in a tweet.
The Times group has said that properties such as TimesJobs and Maharashtra Times who’s competitors do not benefiting from zero-rate platforms, will be pulled out of the partnership with Internet.org.
However, The Times of India, the group’s largest property, will continue to remain a part of the initiative, until competitors such as India Today, NDTV, IBNLive, NewsHunt, and BBC, don’t also pull out.
While NDTV has already announced its support for Net Neutrality, it is to be seen if other mainstream media outfits follow suite.
“We support net neutrality because it creates a fair, level playing field for all companies – big and small – to produce the best service and offer it to consumers. We will lead the drive towards a neutral internet, but we need our fellow publishers and content providers to do so as well, so that the playing field continues to be level,” said the Times Group in a statement.
The move comes soon after Flipkart announced its exit from the Airtel Zero platform, and Cleartrip from Internet.org. Both platforms have taken brunt of the attack from activists supporting Net Neutrality.
It will be interesting to watch what decision the TRAI makes, now that so many Internet companies in India have left platforms with zero ratings, in order to show their support for Net Neutrality.