Is Bharti Airtel showcasing its humanitarian side with the launching of Airtel Zero? Don’t be fooled. It’s no heroic act, but a marketing strategy that includes strangling start-ups in the process. The big players are where they are today because of net neutrality. Why then deprive the current start ups of the same? Where is internet democracy that has always been the backbone for all blooming online entrepreneurs? Just think about it- if the same thing had happened 5 years back when Flipkart started, do you think it could have competed with online marketing giants at the time? Would Flipkart even exist today, let alone thrive?

It’s even more unfair because it affects the innocent and the most important party- the users. It’s like you’re being given free access to a gym but deprived of the right to use a service of your choice. No matter which mobile service provider you’re using, and you have opted for a certain data plan at a certain price, you should have access to every website without having to pay extra. Just because you are being offered something for free does not mean you should be robbed of your freedom of choice, and the internet is supposed to be all about the right to choose. Big apps and content providers would be able to subsidize data cost of their users, no doubt, out of which the major beneficiary will be Airtel. Of course, users will still use certain apps depending on interest and significance, even if they have to pay for it, but what’s being done here is differential pricing for the same service. Tell me, how is that justified?