FCC worried about AT&T and Verizon's zero-rated offerings

FCC worried about AT&T and Verizon's zero-rated offerings
Zero-rated plans from T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon have the FCC worried according to a new report published today. These plans allow wireless subscribers to stream music or video without the amount of data consumed charged against the customer's data bucket. What the FCC is worried about is the possibility that a carrier that owns a streaming video or music app (or both) could benefit by zero-rating its own service. And that would be a violation of net neutrality rules.

The report cleared T-Mobile, which doesn't own a streaming content service like Verizon does with Go90. The latter happens to be zero-rated for Big Red subscribers. The plan that really caught the FCC's attention though, is AT&T's Sponsored Data program. "We believe there is a substantial possibility that some of AT&T’s practices may violate the General Conduct Rule," said the FCC. AT&T is singled out because its purchase of DirecTV gives it an advantage. AT&T would be giving itself an advantage because zero-rating streaming content from DirecTV would be done at much less of a cost to the television content provider compared to what it might cost other providers to be zero-rated on AT&T.

If you can't get to sleep for some reason, and your mind is in perpetual motion over something that you can't stop thinking about, click on the sourcelink and read all 17 mind-numbing pages of the FCC report. We guarantee that your head will hit the pillow before page 5, although you might get some nasty zero-rated nightmares.

Overall there might not be anything for AT&T or any wireless operator to fear. With the new administration taking over in a little more than a week, the possibility exists that the net neutrality regulation will end up losing its byte bite.

source: FCC (via PDF) via TechCrunch

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