Over the past couple of weeks, a heated debate on Net Neutrality has come to the forefront, not just amongst India’s digerati, but in mainstream media as well, with national dailies carrying front page articles about it.
- The Airtel Zero idea: Splitting India’s Internet into many Internets
- Free, Equal and Open Internet
- TRAI: Don’t allow differential pricing of services on the Internet & let the consumers choose how they want to use Internet. #netneutrality
There’s even a parody video on YouTube, that quintessential event that lets one know that something has arrived with a bang.
At various points in time, we have been questioned about our stance on Net Neutrality is. We’d like to take the opportunity today to clarify our stance and take a stand.
.@Cleartrip What's your position on #netneutralityindia ? Why violition via http://t.co/rMoFo3DuGt? — Net Neutrality India (@neutrality_in) April 14, 2015
Cleartrip has stood for the freedom of the Internet and voiced our support for Net Neutrality.
The net neutrality endgame: http://t.co/czdtyBgsl4— Cleartrip (@Cleartrip) January 17, 2014
A response to Airtel’s justification of its net neutrality violation http://t.co/bq6tM7HRVb— Cleartrip (@Cleartrip) December 29, 2014
If Cleartrip supports Net Neutrality, then one might legitimately ask why Cleartrip chose to participate in the Indian launch of Internet.org.
Here’s why: a few weeks back, Facebook reached out and asked us to participate in the Internet.org initiative with the intention of helping us deliver one of our most affordable products to the more underserved parts of the country. There was no revenue arrangement between us and Internet.org or any of its participants — we were neither paid anything, nor did we pay anything to participate. Additionally we don’t make any money out of that product. Since there was absolutely zero money changing hands, we genuinely believed we were contributing to a social cause.
But the recent debate around #NetNeutrality gave us pause to rethink our approach to Internet.org and the idea of large corporations getting involved with picking and choosing who gets access to what and how fast. What started off with providing a simple search service has us now concerned with influencing customer decision-making by forcing options on them, something that is against our core DNA.
So while our original intent was noble, it is impossible to pretend there is no conflict of interest (both real and perceived) in our decision to be a participant in Internet.org. In light of this, Cleartrip has withdrawn our association with and participation in Internet.org entirely.
We believe that the Internet is a great leveller and that freedom of the Internet is critical for innovation. Cleartrip is and always will be a fully committed supporter of #NetNeutrality.