The Airtel Zero program was launched recently as a ‘win-win platform for customers and marketers,’ but one close look at it is enough to reveal that it’s far from what it’s being portrayed to be. This open marketing platform which the ace telecom operator has come up with clearly tramples net neutrality with stiletto shoes.
Internet equality has been in debates a lot in India over the last few months, while globally too, the issue has gained a lot of prominence. The idea of telecom companies giving prominence to certain content contributes to discrimination, and is extremely unfair to small companies which are unable to afford the price required to gain the the upper hand.
The Internet was founded on the basis of net neutrality, giving everyone an equal opportunity to get their content across to people from all over the world. Airtel Zero is a program that’s violating this concept in a pretty clear manner.
It allows mobile app developers to register with the telecom cooperator in order to give its subscribers toll-free access to their apps. Airtel will then inform customers about these toll-free apps, thus increasing their visibility and giving them an unfair advantage over other applications.
So in exchange of a fee from these developers, the Airtel Zero program will help their apps be downloaded by more people, and the customers will be able to grab them without their data getting consumed. This viscous program will hence reduce the prospects of small-time app developers by a huge margin, since they won’t be able to pay the charges of the program and will hence lose their visibility.
Airtel has tried violating net neutrality before this as well, and has triggered the interference of TRAI in the matter. The regulatory body has asked the public for their opinion on the raging debate, and you can contribute to that by submitting your responses to a questionnaire before April 24.