• The FCC Probes AT&T, Comcast and T-Mobile Over Data Cap Exemptions

    The US Federal Communications Commission recently issued letters to AT&T, Comcast and T-Mobile, asking for more information on perks that exempt some services from counting towards Internet users’ data caps. According to The Hill, the agency wants to “have all the facts” on how the perks related “to the Commission’s goal of maintain a free and open Internet while incentivizing innovation and investment from all sources.” The concern here lies with the perks violating net neutrality, prioritizing some services’ traffic in a way that rival services can’t hope to compete with.

    An example of this would be T-Mobile offering Music Freedom and Binge On, which exclude some (but not all) third-party music and video services from caps. Comcast’s Stream TV offers a proprietary mix of live and on-demand content while AT&T is simply marketing “sponsored data,” allowing any outside party to pay for customers’ data consumption.

    All three of the companies have denied any wrongdoing with Comcast describing its offering as a “cable service” that “only works in the customer’s home” and “does not go over the public Internet.” This option is available only to Xfinity Internet customers.

    During a recent press conference announcing the letters, Tom Wheeler, the FCC chairman, insisted that there wasn’t any investigation underway and that the agency is simply trying to stay informed about industry practices. Ajit Pai, the Republican commissioner, argued that the letters are “not simply a benign information inquiry,” with an obvious net neutrality agenda. According to him, commissioners wanting to keep up on the industry should be given the ability to meet with companies without sending out formal letters.

    The letters sent out call for all three named corporations to “make available relevant technical and business personnel for discussions” by January 15th. We’ll have to wait and see what comes of this whole ordeal.

    Source: The Hill
    This article was originally published in forum thread: The FCC Probes AT&T, Comcast and T-Mobile Over Data Cap Exemptions started by Akshay Masand View original post
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