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US: FCC slams AT&T and Verizon over zero-rating offers

 |  December 5, 2016

The Federal Communications Commission is not cool with AT&T’s offer that lets customers stream the carrier’s DirecTV service without it counting against their data plans. The commission has also launched an investigation into a similar offer from Verizon.

In a letter sent to AT&T on Thursday, the agency said it’s reached a preliminary conclusion that the carrier is violating net neutrality rules, which prohibit internet service providers from favoring their own content over a competitor’s service.

Since September, AT&T has let its wireless customers stream its DirecTV video service over the AT&T wireless network without counting that data against their monthly data caps. This week AT&T made the $35 a month streaming service available to all wireless customers. The FCC also sent a letter to Verizon asking it questions about a similar offer where Verizon lets customers stream its Go90 video service and doesn’t charge for data usage.

Both AT&T and Verizon say their programs, which charge video providers instead of customers the cost of streaming the data, are open to any video company willing to pay the cost of customer data. But the FCC says it’s concerned AT&T and Verizon still have a cost advantage over rivals, since they provide the streaming service and own the networks.

In its letter to AT&T, the FCC said its preliminary conclusion is that the carrier’s practices “inhibit competition, harm consumers, and interfere with the ‘virtuous cycle’ needed to assure the continuing benefits of the Open Internet.”

Full Content: CNET

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