After Airtel Zero, under fire

NEW DELHI:, or a partnership platform between Reliance Communications and Facebook where data subscribers access a host of websites and applications free of cost, was in the eye of storm as travel portal Cleartrip and media houses NDTV and Times Group pulled out of it, citing their commitment for net neutrality.

Just day before yesterday, online e-commerce firm had left the Airtel Zero platform after it received widespread criticism from different quarters of the industry for joining it.

Cleartrip said that the company is committed to net neutrality and that the intensity of the recent debate had given the firm pause to reconsider its decision to join the marketing platforms.

“(T)he recent debate around #NetNeutrality gave us pause to rethink our approach to and the idea of large corporations getting involved with picking and choosing who gets access to what and how fast,” Cleartrip Chief Marketing Officer Subramanya Sharma said on the firm’s blog.

NDTV also announced its decision to pull out from the platform. “NDTV is committed to net neutrality and is therefore exiting, and will not be a part of, Facebook’s initiative,” tweeted its Co-founder and Co-chairman Pranoy Roy.

“Times Group commits to withdraw from; appeals to fellow publishers to follow…” read a tweet from the organisation.

Meanwhile, industry lobby Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), which has Google, Facebook, Snapdeal, Ola and MakeMyTrip as its members, also said that “what the internet industry needed was lesser, and not more regulations.”

IAMAI will submit shortly its response to Trai’s consultation paper on regulating Over The Top (OTT) service providers and net neutrality.

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