New Delhi: Telecom major Airtel, on Tuesday, said it fully supports the concept of net neutrality and its 'Airtel Zero' platform is open to all on non-discriminatory basis.
The comments follow e-commerce major Flipkart's decision to "walk away" from its proposed tie-up with Airtel that has been at the centre of a raging debate over a need to maintain equal Internet access for all.
"Airtel fully supports the concept of Net Neutrality. There have been some misconceptions about our toll free data platform - Airtel Zero. It is a not a tariff proposition but is an open marketing platform," Airtel said in a statement.
Airtel launched the Zero platform last week that allowed customers to access certain mobile applications for free with charges being borne by app makers.
"The toll free platform is open to all content providers on a completely non-discriminatory basis and operates on the same principle as 1-800 toll free voice services," it said.
Airtel said the statement made by Flipkart regarding their decision not to offer toll free data service to their customers is consistent with the telecom firm stand that Airtel Zero is not a tariff proposition.
"It is merely an open platform for content providers to provide toll free data services. The platform remains open to all companies who want to offer these toll free data services to their customers on a completely non discriminatory basis," Airtel said.
Airtel Zero has come under attack with critics terming it as an attempt to restrict 'free' internet access to select platforms and against the net neutrality regime.
A government-appointed panel is looking into these concerns and is likely to submit its report next month, while the matter is being separately studied by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).
Free Internet advocates and start-ups see the move as a violation of net neutrality and one that could even "lead to monopolisation by a few and squeezing out of small companies".