“Freedom-of-speech activists and experts have voiced concerns over the launch of ‘Airtel Zero’, a data plan which they say can stifle innovation and promote certain applications and websites over smaller companies. The move could spell doom for the “neutrality” of the internet as we know it.
Airtel Zero allows subscribers to access certain applications free of cost, but their makers would have to pay Bharti Airtel, the internet service provider (ISP), a fee for being part of the plan. Activists supporting ‘net neutrality’ say such plans would lead to ISPs restricting websites that users can access. These telecom giants would then be able to arm-twist small firms and charge exorbitant fees to let consumers access their websites and applications.