Last Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to repeal the net neutrality rules imposed during former President Barack Obama’s administration. This roll back of the rules implemented a couple of years ago should be welcome news to mobile operators as well as Internet service providers opposing what they see at too strict federal regulation of the information superhighway.
It appears that the under the leadership of current Chairman Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now leaning towards favoring Internet service providers (ISPs) more than the consumers. By way of a Notice of Inquiry (read the portable document format version here), the agency is proposing that both fixed and wireless are to be counted as “broadband” based on Section 706 of its regulations. The current rule being followed right now was the standard that was set by the FCC under former Chair Tom Wheeler. That standard requires timely deployment of both wired and wireless networks in the country. But that might change soon.
Verizon Wireless has admitted that it had indeed been throttling streamed video content from Netflix as well as other video content providers. About a week ago, there were reports that the number one mobile operator in the United States was seemingly capping connection speeds for subscribers who were watching video content from Netflix on the Big Red’s network. The major US wireless carrier has since confirmed that it was throttling network speeds in order to optimize the content. The company did qualify that it was not specifically throttling speeds for subscribers of Netflix.
It was in April of 2015 that AT&T had decided to take legal action against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in order to challenge the agency’s implementation of new net neutrality rules that were just recently published in the Federal Register at that time. Fast forwarding a couple of years and the second biggest wireless carrier in the United States is now joining a huge movement protesting the rollback of those same net neutrality rules.
When Ajit Pai, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), announced his plan to reverse the net neutrality rules adopted under the leadership of former Chair Tom Wheeler, it was generally met with positive reactions from the wireless industry. But according to a recent report by FierceWireless, industry leaders Verizon Wireless and AT&T could stand to gain the most, especially now that the wireless and digital media markets are starting to overlap.
Tech companies in favor of net neutrality rules are asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to make its position known to the public with regards to zero rating services that are potentially in violation of said rules. More than 50 firms, including familiar names such as Pinterest, Kickstarter, Foursquare and Yelp, have sent a letter to the FCC, effectively requesting the agency to be more open about its review of wireless streaming freebies currently being offered by a number of providers.
Maybe not. But it does have some serious explaining to do, especially to its customers. A few days ago, Netflix admitted that it was the one slowing down its own video content major US wireless carriers such as Verizon Wireless and AT&T.
United States District Court Judge Edward Chen of the Northern California District Court has issued a ruling that AT&T will not be facing a class action lawsuit for allegedly misleading its subscribers regarding its promised unlimited data that turned out to be throttled when users go over 3 gigabytes of data in a given month. According to the judge, all subscribers that were affected had signed agreements that allowed the second biggest wireless carrier in the United States to send disputes (like this one) to individual arbitration.
Verizon Wireless introduced its Go90 mobile video service back in September of last year, and later made it available to all users, regardless of whether they subscribers of the Big Red or not. But a few days ago, it was reported by The Verge that the biggest wireless carrier in the United States would not be charging its own subscribers for the data they use up over its mobile video service.
Many may have already heard about T-Mobile’s Binge On feature. This service basically allows qualified subscribers of the third biggest wireless carrier in America to to stream video content from a limited list of services, which include Netflix, HBO, and Hulu, just to name a few, without it affecting their data allotments. A little more than a week ago, YouTube (which is not included on Binge On, by the way) had accused T-Mobile of throttling its videos.
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