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Flipkart signs up for Airtel’s Net Neutrality-violating Airtel Zero platform

Update: our take on Airtel Zero: it splits India's Internet into many Internets. Read it here Flipkart, which raised $1.91 billion in funding last year, has signed up with Bharti Airtel, India's largest telecom operator, four highly placed sources have confirmed to MediaNama. Airtel has confirmed that it is launching a platform called Airtel Zero, in order to allow companies to buy data to offer their apps to consumers for free. Zero Rating violates Net Neutrality, something which the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has acknowledged in its consultation paper announced last week (paper, FAQs), which may end up in a licensing regime for Internet companies, or allow telecom operators to do traffic shaping - slow down or speed up certain services, make some expensive versus others, or slice the Internet into types of services, rather than offer access to the Internet as a whole. Sachin Bansal, founder and CEO of Flipkart, declined to respond to the following questions: 1. Does Flipkart have exclusivity in the shopping/ecommerce category in this Zero Rating deal with Airtel? 2. Has Flipkart closed similar deals with any other telecom operator? 3. Is Flipkart in talks with any other telecom operator for similar deals? 4. Is there any preferential bandwidth allocation as a part of this deal? As in, will specific bandwidth speeds be allocated to Flipkart, so that access to Flipkart is faster than it is ecommerce/shopping apps or sites? 5. Does this deal involve any throttling of other ecommerce sites or apps? As in, will…

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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