Victory for Net Neutrality: Flipkart Ditches Airtel Zero, Acknowledges The Free Internet


In what could be first major repercussion of concentrated efforts to push Net Neutrality in India, Flipkart has today officially announced that they have walked away from Airtel Zero deal.

In their official statement issued, they have admitted that their existence is owed to the free nature of Internet, and they can’t tamper with it.

Flipkart said, “We at Flipkart have always strongly believed in the concept of net neutrality, for we exist because of the Internet.”

Flipkart faced widespread criticism from netizens for considering tying up with Airtel Zero platform, which is widely considered to be a step towards tiered Internet and something that goes against the principles of Net Neutrality.

Netizens revolted against Flipkart and Airtel in a ferocious manner, for disrupting the freedom of Internet, and mass down-voting of their apps ensured on every platform. The app received so many 1-star rating in the last few days that prominent media publications decided to cover this as a news.

It seems Flipkart management hadn’t expected such huge, viral backlash for a decision to give free apps for all. It took some time for them understand the core basics of Net Neutrality, but, now they have made the perfect decision, which benefits all.

The official statement from Flipkart demonstrates two important facts:

  • They are leaving Airtel Zero immediately and suspending all discussions with them
  • They have openly come out to support Net Neutrality in India, have promised their help and assistance.

Earlier, Sachin Bansal had tried to reason their support for Airtel Zero by comparing it with toll free numbers and other such services. His response was again ridiculed andruthlessly opposed by activists of Net Neutrality.

It would be interesting to observe what Airtel plans to do now, and especially Telecom Ministry considering that such discriminatory pricing of Internet is threatening to kill PM Modi’s Digital India vision as well.

Over to Airtel now, for they have to take a very strong decision now: decision to save Internet in India.

Here is the official statement issued by Flipkart:

We at Flipkart have always strongly believed in the concept of net neutrality, for we exist because of the Internet. Over the past few days, there has been a great amount of debate, both internally and externally, on the topic of zero rating, and we have a deeper understanding of the implications. Based on this, we have decided on the following:

We will be walking away from the ongoing discussions with Airtel for their platform Airtel Zero

We will be committing ourselves to the larger cause of Net Neutrality in India. We will be internally discussing over the next few days, the details of actions we will take to support the cause

We will be working towards ensuring that the spirit of net neutrality is upheld and applied equally to all companies in India irrespective of the size or the service being offered and there is absolutely no discrimination whatsoever.

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Image credit: Times of India