Free Internet platform Gigato, which was recently termed by Facebook as potentially "damaging to startups" today claimed that it is net neutral and does not prioritise any application or website. Gigato, which is owned by tech startup Mavin, was launched in India in 2015.
It credits back Internet data to consumers for accessing websites or content on its platform irrespective of the network they use. "We as a company are firm believers in creating a net neutral product. We have ensured the principles of net neutrality are held up on both the consumer and the app publisher or developer front," Co-founder and CMO Strategy of Mavin, Raina Kumra told PTI.
While, supporting its own platform, Free Basics, social media giant Facebook recently in a post had questioned host of services including Aircel's free internet service, Mozilla's idea of 'equal rating' system as well as Gigato's toll free Internet. "Gigato requires applications to pay to be featured, which is potentially damaging to startups who can't afford to be part of the program," Facebook had said.
While clarifying Kumra said: "On the consumer front, the data that is sponsored on our platform is returned to users with no strings attached. They are free to use it how they please, without restrictions. On the developer front, every app publisher on the platform pays the same flat rate data cost without any difference in pricing."
Mavin cited quote of Advocacy Director at net freedom advocacy group Access Josh Levy who said "The Mavin model is a non-discriminatory approach to helping people use data-hungry apps," to uphold its claim. Facebook's Free Basics is also a free Internet platform where user is not required to pay data charges for accessing websites or application present on it.
However, Net Neutrality activist have alleged that Free Basics model is not transparent and can be accessed on network of telecom operator who has partnered Facebook. Facebook, however, says there are no restriction to telecom operators partnering it. "Facebook does not require content partners, to pay to be included in Free Basics.
Neither Facebook nor its content partners pay the operators for the data people consume through Free Basics. Finally, Free Basics is not exclusive to any operator, and Facebook is willing to work with any operator that wants to provide free basic services," the social media giant said. Kumra said Gigato does not has any exclusive deals and no way to pay for placements.
"To counter sort order bias we also shift the order of appearance of our offers at random. No app publisher small or large, pays to be on the platform. They only receive an invoice for actual megabyte consumption and actual downloads, we don't charge for clicks or views of the promotions as that is not the business we are in," Kumra said.