India, April 15 : In yet another win for Net Neutrality, Cleartrip has announced that it will pull out of its Internet.org deal. This is the second big announcement in support of Net Neutrality after Flipkart pulled out of its deal with Airtel Zero yesterday.
— Cleartrip (@Cleartrip) April 15, 2015
In a blog post published on their site today, Cleartrip announced its decision and its support for Net Neutrality.
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 In light of this, Cleartrip has withdrawn our association with and participation in Internet.org entirely.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.
Anil Ambani led Reliance Communications had been roped in by Facebook in February this year to offer its customers in the country free data access for select websites through Internet.org. Internet.org is a Facebook initiative to provide access to popular websites and services with zero data charge to make it easier for people to access the Internet across both the 2G and 3G platforms.
The list of websites made available through Internet.org are Facebook, Facebook Messenger, TimesJobs, Wikipedia, Reuters Market Lite, and Jagran Josh, among others.
Amid a raging debate on ensuring equal Internet access for all, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg today rejected criticism that his internet.org programme, which has RCom as a partner in India, was against the concept of Net Neutrality.