FCC accuses AT&T and Verizon of violating net neutrality

The FCC has a few things to say about AT&T and Verizon’s takes on net neutrality. Jon Wilkins, the commission’s chief of wireless telecommunication, wrote separate letters to both telcos highlighting concerns about recent zero-rating moves — whe…

The FCC has a few things to say about AT&T and Verizon's takes on net neutrality. Jon Wilkins, the commission's chief of wireless telecommunication, wrote separate letters to both telcos highlighting concerns about recent zero-rating moves — whe…

AT&T and Verizon Facing FCC Scrutiny After Exempting Their Own Apps From Data Caps

Both AT&T and Verizon offer apps and streaming services that don’t count against the data cap they impose on customers, a practice that the United States Federal Communications Commission does not approve of.

The FCC this week sent letters (via The Verge) to both Verizon and AT&T, claiming that the data cap exemptions, called “zero rating,” raise net neutrality concerns and could impact consumers and competition.

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AT&T and Verizon each offer programs that allow content providers to pay a fee to be exempted from customer data caps, programs that they themselves take advantage of with their own apps and services.

DirecTV Now, AT&T’s recently introduced streaming television service, does not use data when streamed on the AT&T network, for example. DirecTV Now pays for the data, but as an AT&T subsidiary, AT&T is just paying itself. Verizon, meanwhile, exempts its own Go90 streaming service from using data on the Verizon network and does not pay fees to do so.

The FCC first sent a warning to AT&T in early November, but was not pleased with the response it received from the company. In this week’s letter, the FCC says that it has come to the “preliminary” conclusion that the Sponsored Data program inhibits competition, harms consumers, and violates Open Internet rules. It asks AT&T to answer a series of questions about its Sponsored Data practices.

We find that those responses fail to alleviate the serious concerns expressed in our November 9 letter regarding the potential anti-competitive impacts of a wholesale Sponsored Data program for zero-rated mobile video services. Indeed, your submission tends to confirm our initial view that the Sponsored Data program strongly favors AT&T’s own video offerings while unreasonably discriminating against unaffiliated edge providers and limiting their ability to offer competing video services to AT&T’s broadband subscribers on a level playing field.

A similar letter sent to Verizon expresses concern over the “FreeBee Data 360” program and says it has the potential to “hinder competition and harm consumers” because Verizon does not need to pay to participate in the Sponsored Data program when it exempts its own app, but competing content providers do.

The position that the participation of Go90 in FreeBee Data 360 is the same as that of third parties, however, fails to take account of the notably different financial impact on unaffiliated edge providers. For example, while there is no cash cost on a consolidated basis for Verizon to zero-rate its own affiliated edge service, an unaffiliated edge provider’s FreeBee Data 360 payment to Verizon is a true cash cost that could be significant.

AT&T and Verizon have responded to the letters sent by the FCC in statements given to the media. AT&T says the government should not take away a service that’s saving customers money, while Verizon says its practices are good for consumers, non-discriminatory, and consistent with the rules.

The two carriers have been given a December 15 deadline to respond to the FCC’s concerns.

Tags: FCC, AT&T, Verizon

Discuss this article in our forums

Both AT&T and Verizon offer apps and streaming services that don’t count against the data cap they impose on customers, a practice that the United States Federal Communications Commission does not approve of.

The FCC this week sent letters (via The Verge) to both Verizon and AT&T, claiming that the data cap exemptions, called “zero rating,” raise net neutrality concerns and could impact consumers and competition.

attvzw

AT&T and Verizon each offer programs that allow content providers to pay a fee to be exempted from customer data caps, programs that they themselves take advantage of with their own apps and services.

DirecTV Now, AT&T’s recently introduced streaming television service, does not use data when streamed on the AT&T network, for example. DirecTV Now pays for the data, but as an AT&T subsidiary, AT&T is just paying itself. Verizon, meanwhile, exempts its own Go90 streaming service from using data on the Verizon network and does not pay fees to do so.

The FCC first sent a warning to AT&T in early November, but was not pleased with the response it received from the company. In this week’s letter, the FCC says that it has come to the “preliminary” conclusion that the Sponsored Data program inhibits competition, harms consumers, and violates Open Internet rules. It asks AT&T to answer a series of questions about its Sponsored Data practices.

We find that those responses fail to alleviate the serious concerns expressed in our November 9 letter regarding the potential anti-competitive impacts of a wholesale Sponsored Data program for zero-rated mobile video services. Indeed, your submission tends to confirm our initial view that the Sponsored Data program strongly favors AT&T’s own video offerings while unreasonably discriminating against unaffiliated edge providers and limiting their ability to offer competing video services to AT&T’s broadband subscribers on a level playing field.

A similar letter sent to Verizon expresses concern over the “FreeBee Data 360” program and says it has the potential to “hinder competition and harm consumers” because Verizon does not need to pay to participate in the Sponsored Data program when it exempts its own app, but competing content providers do.

The position that the participation of Go90 in FreeBee Data 360 is the same as that of third parties, however, fails to take account of the notably different financial impact on unaffiliated edge providers. For example, while there is no cash cost on a consolidated basis for Verizon to zero-rate its own affiliated edge service, an unaffiliated edge provider’s FreeBee Data 360 payment to Verizon is a true cash cost that could be significant.

AT&T and Verizon have responded to the letters sent by the FCC in statements given to the media. AT&T says the government should not take away a service that’s saving customers money, while Verizon says its practices are good for consumers, non-discriminatory, and consistent with the rules.

The two carriers have been given a December 15 deadline to respond to the FCC’s concerns.

Tags: FCC, AT&T, Verizon

Discuss this article in our forums

America’s fourth-largest cable co. will offer 10Gbps fiber

Altice USA may not be the most recognized ISP name out there, but the country’s fourth-largest provider is about to get a big upgrade over the next five years or so. According to the company’s roadmap, Altice plans to bring high-speed, 10 Gbps fiber…

Altice USA may not be the most recognized ISP name out there, but the country's fourth-largest provider is about to get a big upgrade over the next five years or so. According to the company's roadmap, Altice plans to bring high-speed, 10 Gbps fiber…

Yahoo Answers Now is a standalone app for iOS

Yahoo Answers has been the butt of many jokes for a long time now. But if you enjoy browsing through all the amusing questions people submit and tend to reply to some yourself, you’ll love the latest update out of the company’s HQ: Yahoo Answers now…

Yahoo Answers has been the butt of many jokes for a long time now. But if you enjoy browsing through all the amusing questions people submit and tend to reply to some yourself, you'll love the latest update out of the company's HQ: Yahoo Answers now…

Verizon Offering iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus for $0 With Eligible Trade-In for Black Friday

Verizon today announced its Black Friday deals, introducing a discount that will give customers a chance to purchase an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus for as little as $0 when trading in an eligible smartphone and selecting a device payment plan.

Verizon customers will be able to get an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus at a reduced cost and with no money down when trading in one of thirteen eligible smartphones. Eligible devices include the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S6 edge, Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, Samsung Note5, LG V20, LG G5 and Moto Droid Turbo 2.

verizontradeindeal
Customers who switch to Verizon and purchase a smartphone on a device payment plan will also be able to get a $200 prepaid Visa gift card for up to 4 lines. A family of four that switches to Verizon during Black Friday, for example, will be able to get $800 back while also taking advantage of the trade-in plan.

Verizon’s deals will be available online starting on Thursday, November 24 and in stores starting on Friday, November 25. Discounts will be available through Sunday.

Verizon is also offering discounts on iPads. The 32GB iPad mini 4 can be purchased for $99 with a two-year agreement, and when purchasing an iPhone, customers can get $250 off an iPad.

Other Deals

Valid until Friday:

  • UE Boom 2 – $99.99, down from $199.99
  • Beats UrBeats earbuds – $49.99, down from $100
  • Fitbit Charge 2 – $130, down from $150, also includes $25 mail-in Visa gift card rebate

Valid through Sunday:

  • Harmon Kardon Onyx Bluetooth Speaker – $99.99, down from $200
  • Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones – $224.99, down from $300
  • UE Megaboom Speaker – $229.99, down from $300
  • FitBit Charge HR – $89.99, down from $130
  • Mophie Powerstation XL – $34.99, down from $70
  • Nest Cam – $149.99, down from $200
  • Google Home – $99.99, down from $130

For more deals on the iPhone and other Apple products, make sure to check out our full Black Friday roundup.

Related Roundup: Black Friday
Tag: Verizon

Discuss this article in our forums

Verizon today announced its Black Friday deals, introducing a discount that will give customers a chance to purchase an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus for as little as $0 when trading in an eligible smartphone and selecting a device payment plan.

Verizon customers will be able to get an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus at a reduced cost and with no money down when trading in one of thirteen eligible smartphones. Eligible devices include the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S6 edge, Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, Samsung Note5, LG V20, LG G5 and Moto Droid Turbo 2.

verizontradeindeal

Customers who switch to Verizon and purchase a smartphone on a device payment plan will also be able to get a $200 prepaid Visa gift card for up to 4 lines. A family of four that switches to Verizon during Black Friday, for example, will be able to get $800 back while also taking advantage of the trade-in plan.

Verizon’s deals will be available online starting on Thursday, November 24 and in stores starting on Friday, November 25. Discounts will be available through Sunday.

Verizon is also offering discounts on iPads. The 32GB iPad mini 4 can be purchased for $99 with a two-year agreement, and when purchasing an iPhone, customers can get $250 off an iPad.

Other Deals

Valid until Friday:

  • UE Boom 2 – $99.99, down from $199.99
  • Beats UrBeats earbuds – $49.99, down from $100
  • Fitbit Charge 2 – $130, down from $150, also includes $25 mail-in Visa gift card rebate

Valid through Sunday:

  • Harmon Kardon Onyx Bluetooth Speaker – $99.99, down from $200
  • Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones – $224.99, down from $300
  • UE Megaboom Speaker – $229.99, down from $300
  • FitBit Charge HR – $89.99, down from $130
  • Mophie Powerstation XL – $34.99, down from $70
  • Nest Cam – $149.99, down from $200
  • Google Home – $99.99, down from $130

For more deals on the iPhone and other Apple products, make sure to check out our full Black Friday roundup.

Related Roundup: Black Friday
Tag: Verizon

Discuss this article in our forums

Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 360-degree video

Let’s be honest: no matter how much you like watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, it loses a lot of its thunder if you aren’t in New York City to witness it first-hand. However, you might get a better feel for it with the 2016 event. Macy’s,…

Let's be honest: no matter how much you like watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, it loses a lot of its thunder if you aren't in New York City to witness it first-hand. However, you might get a better feel for it with the 2016 event. Macy's,…

Google, other tech giants outline ways to improve IoT security

Google, Intel, Microsoft, Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and a handful of other tech industry giants joined former FCC Chief Technologist Dale Hatfield to form the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group in 2010, in an attempt to deve…

Google, Intel, Microsoft, Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and a handful of other tech industry giants joined former FCC Chief Technologist Dale Hatfield to form the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group in 2010, in an attempt to develop a s…

LG V20 review: Great for audiophiles, but who else?

After the unabashed wackiness of its G5, LG had a real conundrum on its hands: Does it keep up the modular streak for its 2016 V-series flagship phone and risk lousy sales, or try something a little more traditional? As it turns out, LG chose …

After the unabashed wackiness of its G5, LG had a real conundrum on its hands: Does it keep up the modular streak for its 2016 V-series flagship phone and risk lousy sales, or try something a little more traditional? As it turns out, LG chose the lat…