Aiming to make the company's stand clear to customers on Airtel Zero, Bharti Airtel Managing Director and CEO (India and South Asia) Gopal Vittal on Saturday sent out an email to all its subscribers reiterating that it is completely committed to net neutrality.
"Our vision is to have every Indian on the internet. There are millions of Indians who think that the internet is expensive and do not know what it can do for them." We believe that every Indian has the right to be on the internet.
We know that if we allow them to experience the joys of the internet they will join the digital revolution," the email said. Net neutrality means that governments and internet service providers should treat all data on the internet equally, therefore, not charging users, content, platforms, sites, applications or modes of communication differentially.
"Airtel Zero is a technology platform that connects application providers to their customers for free." The platform allows any content or application provider to enroll on it so that their customers can visit these sites for free.
Instead of charging customers we charge the providers who choose to get on to the platform," Vittal said. "There is no difference between this and toll free voice such as 1-800.
When a company selling an insurance product enrols into the toll free voice platform, customers who call the number are not charged but when they call a normal number they are charged."
Calls are not blocked or given preferential treatment else our whole business would be jeopardized," he clarified. "Finally every web site, content or application will always be given the same treatment on our network whether they are on the toll free platform or not.
As a company we do not ever block, throttle or provide any differential speeds to any web site. We have never done it and will never do it." We believe customers are the reason we are in business. As a result we will always do what is right for our customers," Vittal added.
He concluded by saying that the company stands committed to net neutrality to achieve the goals of the Prime Ministers vision of Digital India.
E-commerce giant Flipkart on April 14 said it is "walking away" from Airtel Zero as it is committed to "the larger cause of net neutrality" but Bharti Airtel said it also supported the concept and there was some "misconception" about its toll-free platform.