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FCC Unhappy with AT&T and Verizon's Zero-Rated Services

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Dec 2, 2016, 12:57 PM   by Eric M. Zeman
updated Dec 2, 2016, 2:38 PM

The FCC believes zero-rating content can hurt consumers and competition. The agency sent letters to AT&T and Verizon Wireless this week calling them out for exempting their own video services (DirecTV Now and go90, respectively) from customers' data caps. The agency believes the practice gives the carriers' own services an advantage over competing services. "We have therefore reached the preliminary conclusion that these practices inhibit competition, harm consumers, and interfere with the 'virtuous cycle' needed to assure the continuing benefits of the Open Internet," wrote FCC wireless bureau chief Jon Wilkins writes in the letter to AT&T. The FCC has already warned carriers that zero-rating content may be harmful. The regulatory body did not say if it intends to take steps or action against the carriers. The companies have until December 15 to respond to the FCC's letters. AT&T announced DirecTV Now earlier this week. The service is available to anyone who cares to pay for it, but only AT&T Mobility customers can watch via LTE without impacting their monthly data cap.

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Dec 5, 2016, 6:27 PM


Considering the amount of public money that went into building out the internet's infrastructure, it ought to be illegal for a company to own internet backbone and last mile access and also distribute internet content, especially if they are giving their own content preferential treatment over everyone else's. If this doesn't violate net neutrality, nothing does. If ATT can deliver its own content with out data caps, then it can also deliver everything else on the internet without data caps. ATT is long overdue for a corporate break up. That thing should be split into at least 20 companies who are all forced to compete with one another, as opposed to each one controlling a separate region.
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