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New FCC Report Says AT&T and Verizon Zero-Rating Violates Net Neutrality (theverge.com) 74

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Just a week and a half before he is set to leave office, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has issued a new report stating that the zero-rated video services offered by ATT and Verizon may violate the FCC's Open Internet Order. Assembled by the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, the report focuses on sponsored data programs, which allow companies to pay carriers to exempt exempt their data from customers' data caps. According to the report, many of those packages simply aren't playing fair. "While observing that ATT provided incomplete responses to staff inquires," Wheeler wrote to Senators, "the report states that the limited information available supports a conclusion that ATT offers Sponsored Data to third-party content providers at terms and conditions that are effectively less favorable than those it offers to its affiliate, DirecTV." In theory, sponsored data should be an even playing field, with providers bearing the costs and making the same charges regardless of who's footing the bill. But according to the report, ATT treats the DirectTV partnership very differently from an unaffiliated sponsored data system, giving the service a strong advantage over competitors. "ATT appears to view the network cost of Sponsored Data for DIRECTV Now as effectively de minimis," the report concludes. While ATT still bears some cost for all that free traffic, it's small enough that the carrier doesn't seem to care. The report raises similar concerns regarding Verizon's Go90 program, although it concludes Verizon's program may be less damaging. Notably, the letter does not raise the same concerns about T-Mobile's BingeOn video deal, since it "charges all edge providers the same zero rate for participating."
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New FCC Report Says AT&T and Verizon Zero-Rating Violates Net Neutrality

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  • A little late (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Thursday January 12, 2017 @09:03AM (#53653045)

    coming to this conclusion isn't it ?

    Considering the new administration may or may not wish to agree with your assessment.
    Where was this brilliant insight back when they started behavior ?

    It's lovely you all think it's a violation now, but there may be nothing you can do about it at this point.

    Good Job :|

    • Bureaucracy (Score:2, Informative)

      by JBMcB ( 73720 )

      I'm surprised they acted as fast as they did. Government bureaucracy isn't known for speed or efficiency.

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 ) on Thursday January 12, 2017 @12:48PM (#53654265)

      Lots of Trump fans on this site, presumably they're cool with having crappy connections to Netflix because Netflix haven't bribed their ISP sufficiently. You're headed for a brave new world where websites have to pay your ISP to access you, in addition to you paying your ISP.

      Enjoy it.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        But nobody has a crappy connection to netflix. https://ispspeedindex.netflix.com/country/us/

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        I see progressives are making is past denial, and into anger. Good, that's progress.

      • by sabri ( 584428 )

        You're headed for a brave new world where websites have to pay your ISP to access you, in addition to you paying your ISP.

        I'd rather have that world, than a world where big government gets to dictate what I can and cannot do on my own privately owned network.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12, 2017 @09:16AM (#53653089)

    Capitalism not working. Once the players are big enough to buy thugs, laws and presidents, capitalism will just devour the very substrate it thrives on.

    Capitalism as *one of the driving forces* of society is OK, mind you. As the *only* driving force (as whe've practically had for the last ~30-40 years), it's akin to cancer: ater a wild and nearly exponential growth, it will, in the end, kill its host (and thus itself).

    • Sad but true.

    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday January 12, 2017 @10:28AM (#53653359)

      We need a separation of business and state.

      But seeing how well that separation of church and state worked, I'd rather not hold my breath.

      • by kenh ( 9056 )

        But seeing how well that separation of church and state worked, I'd rather not hold my breath.

        Are you talking about the Establishment Clause [uscourts.gov] of the First Amendment or the Thomas Jefferson Letter to the Danbury Bishops [loc.gov]?

        If it's the former, I'm not aware the Federal Government established a National Religion...

        If it's the latter, Jefferson himself allowed that individual states could keep their state-sponsored religions, that the federal government would not create a national religion.

        Jefferson's letter is the

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          ...so you really are deaf, dumb, blind and stupid... the cult of christianity has been jamming it's mythology down everyone's throat since before this country existed. It's thanks to the foresight of folks like Jefferson that we aren't totally under the thumb of the christians and their version of sharia law (but only just barely).

          The reason the christians are so pissed at the muslims is that they have what the christians so desperately want, total domination in their sphere of influence. The funny thing

          • Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

            So, when did Congress pass laws establishing a national religion? What you are speaking of is that all religions, including Christianity, are allowed to freely practice their religion. Would you rather live in a country where religious are not free to practice their religion? Feel free to move to China than if that is what you want.

        • I'm talking about reality.

          Show me one, ONE SINGLE politician in the US that doesn't somehow invoke his god in every other speech. Or in every speech when it's election time.

  • No worries mate... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Thursday January 12, 2017 @09:25AM (#53653119)
    The Trumperor will fix it with removal of regulation. Then no one will care! We will be busy getting fucked - more than we currently are. Remember kids, getting fucked is fun!
  • ...is exempt exempt from checking the content of this summary.

  • It will be unfortunate it the incoming president disadvantages these third party content providers. There are jobs that will be lost if these companies go out of business or new companies are scared away, mostly middle class jobs in technology and media content creation. This will be a societal net loss, with no upside in either government income or consumer price cuts - the exact opposite of a free lunch in economics.
  • The more ISPs will slip through your fingers.

  • by acoustix ( 123925 ) on Thursday January 12, 2017 @12:26PM (#53654085)

    I've always considered net neutrality to be more considered with how traffic is treated/shaped rather than how it is billed. I don't want service providers to change traffic priority that would benefit one content provider over another. But zero-rating, as far as I can tell, does not change traffic priority or speeds.

    • by nasch ( 598556 )

      It makes the net not neutral - some parties are advantaged and some disadvantaged. This doesn't have to be via traffic shaping to be a neutrality issue.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      I've always considered net neutrality to be more considered with how traffic is treated/shaped rather than how it is billed. I don't want service providers to change traffic priority that would benefit one content provider over another. But zero-rating, as far as I can tell, does not change traffic priority or speeds.

      But it changes behavior. If you have to choose between DirecTV and Netflix, which would you pick? Netflix would count against your bandwidth limit, so maybe you can watch 1 hour a day without g

    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

      That's fine, so consider this: ATT & Verizon have bandwidth caps. If some sites are not subject to the cap, but others are subject to the cap, aren't they changing how traffic is treated/shaped? Once I hit my cap, the ISP is blocking some traffic, but not blocking other traffic. If there was no bandwidth cap, then there would be no need for zero-rating.

      So even if this sounds like I'm splitting a hair, in practice, it has the same effect as traffic shaping. Maybe I can't stream Netflix over my 4G con

  • This sounds a lot like a bunch of talks I attended while in college. When in college I was taking a power class required of all electrical engineering students and some company sponsored a handful of students to go to some big energy conference. What was big news then was the then new federal regulation that utilities had to charge other utilities the sames fees they charge themselves to carry power. What the government wanted to see was utilities stopping to abuse their monopoly on wires to prop up unpr

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.

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