New Delhi: Facebook said on Thursday that it will not pull out its controversial zero-rated platform internet.org from India.
As per a Times of India report, the internet search giant will rather open it up further to newer telecom operators in order to provide internet access to the unconnected despite scathing criticism from a top government panel.
“Facebook internet.org does not violate the principles of net neutrality, especially as it offers an opportunity to all developers if they provide lighter versions that use limited bandwidth, “Kevin Martin, vice-president for Facebook's Mobile and Global Access Policy, was quoted as saying.
Martin, who has earlier served as the chairman of the high-profile Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the US, said that Facebook has no plan to withdraw internet.org from India.
Speaking to TOI, he said: “This program is not exclusive and is open to all operators. We are trying to work with others, and are anxious to work with them.”
When asked about Facebook's stand on net neutrality, he said companies who owned the telecom infrastructure (operators) should not be able to limit where people want to go on the internet.
A Department of Telecom (DoT) panel, which submitted recommendations on the various aspects of net neutrality in May, had opposed to Facebook's internet.org initiative, saying, it favoured the social media giant and provided access only to select applications.
The neutrality debate heated up in India after telecom operator Airtel launched a platform, Airtel Zero, that would allow free access of some websites on it network. However, the companies were asked to pay Airtel for joining the platform.
Internet.org is a Facebook-led initiative which aims to bring 5 billion people online in partnership with tech giants like Samsung and Qualcomm as well as mobile operators. In India, it had tied up with Reliance Communications.