Verizon joins AT&T in launching sponsored data access, raises net neutrality concerns

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in General Discussion
Verizon on Tuesday officially announced FreeBee Data, a service that will let businesses sponsor data access so subscribers can load some apps, websites, or downloads without it impacting their monthly limits.




Two versions will be available, the basic one covering data on a per-click basis, Verizon said on Tuesday. A movie studio, for instance, might sponsor access to a movie trailer, or a local business might sponsor an app download. FreeBee icons should appear next to such material.

FreeBee Data 360 however will operate on a per-gigabyte model, making it suitable for a sponsoring an entire app or website. As of today, 360 is in fact already available to businesses in beta form -- the per-click option will only enter a beta trial on Jan. 25 with partners like Hearst and Verizon's own AOL.

Full commercial availability for the per-click option should happen later in 2016.

FreeBee is similar to AT&T's Sponsored Data, which likewise allows companies to buy their way around customers' data caps.

Both services could potentially run afoul of the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules, which mandate that all Internet traffic be treated equally. Businesses that can't afford to sponsor data could seen as having an unfair handicap.

The FCC is in fact already probing AT&T, as well as Comcast's Stream TV and T-Mobile's Binge On.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    They treat data like its gold.

    Pathetic.
  • Reply 2 of 20
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,692member
    msantti said:
    They treat data like its gold.

    Pathetic.
    This is worse than T mobile, if this is let go, net neutrality is dead.
  • Reply 3 of 20
    Since the US is abdicating the internet to the rule of 9 entities, what does this matter? Your content will be controlled anyway.
    redraider11
  • Reply 4 of 20
    You mean the net neutrality rules proposed and implemented by cable and telco industry members and stooges?

    Good luck getting the rules repealed, since most people who supported them fail to see how it was their fault. 
  • Reply 5 of 20
    It's called the free market. Get over it. 
    awilliams87
  • Reply 6 of 20
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,657member
    Cool idea. Data is a commodity that can be bought, sold, traded or bartered. If a company wants to pay for the data used to access their goods, so be it. I don't see how this necessarily circumvents neutrality, it just changes who is paying for that data.
  • Reply 7 of 20
    kpluckkpluck Posts: 500member
    You mean the net neutrality rules proposed and implemented by cable and telco industry members and stooges?

    Good luck getting the rules repealed, since most people who supported them fail to see how it was their fault. 

    Don't worry about it, according to this CNET article, if Obama is elected, he plans on making net neutrality rules a priority in his first year of office.

    -kpluck
  • Reply 8 of 20
    Question: How is this much different from a toll-free number where the business picks up the tab for the long-distance phone call? I understand other aspects of net neutrality issues, but this seems pretty fair and straightforward. A company is simply picking up the cost of communicating with them via the web or an app.
    jkichlinefreshmaker
  • Reply 9 of 20
    Like it or hate it, this is the beginning of a slippery slope. The big communication companies couldn't defeat net neutrality with a frontal assault, so they will slowly and cleverly begin to chip away at it one bit and one byte at a time.
  • Reply 10 of 20
    Net Neutrality was a misguided idea from the word go and is resulting in the very problems it allegedly sought to "solve". Only competition, brutal head-to-head competition between companies, could result in positive ends.
  • Reply 11 of 20
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,290member
    I may not be popular with this opinion, but I don't see how this breaks any net neutrality rules.  Here's why... the basic spirit of net neutrality is that any company should be able to access and use the Internet for their business without restriction.  So if a carrier were to restrict access either completely, or by degrading performance of the website, then that would trigger new neutrality issues.  But in this case, the ability for a third party to pay for the user to access content is actually allowing net neutrality to be subsidized.  The user is already paying for data... but by having the content subsidized, the user gets that content for free.  This does not mean that the carrier is restricting other content on the network other than the market-based restriction that's already in place which are data caps.

    So no, I don't think this should raise eyebrows UNLESS the carrier then want to diminish access for non-paid content.  But here they are just giving you the same content, but doing it with the added benefit of free to the user.
  • Reply 12 of 20
    jkichline said:
    I may not be popular with this opinion, but I don't see how this breaks any net neutrality rules.  Here's why... the basic spirit of net neutrality is that any company should be able to access and use the Internet for their business without restriction.  So if a carrier were to restrict access either completely, or by degrading performance of the website, then that would trigger new neutrality issues.  But in this case, the ability for a third party to pay for the user to access content is actually allowing net neutrality to be subsidized.  The user is already paying for data... but by having the content subsidized, the user gets that content for free.  This does not mean that the carrier is restricting other content on the network other than the market-based restriction that's already in place which are data caps.

    So no, I don't think this should raise eyebrows UNLESS the carrier then want to diminish access for non-paid content.  But here they are just giving you the same content, but doing it with the added benefit of free to the user.
    IMO, the FCC screwed the pooch. 

    "Here's Why You're Going To Hate Net Neutrality"
    http://thelibertarianrepublic.com/why-you-will-hate-net-neutrality/
  • Reply 13 of 20
    kent909kent909 Posts: 691member
    It's called the free market. Get over it. 
    How is it a free market when you have lobbyists and SuperPacs bribing politicians to muck things up? While there may be net neutrality in theory, if the Congress chokes off funding to the FCC it won't have the bandwidth, pardon the pun, to chase down all these end a rounds. It would be so wonderful if we actually had free markets as opposed to saying we do.
    mwhiteSpamSandwich
  • Reply 14 of 20
    kent909kent909 Posts: 691member
    Net Neutrality was a misguided idea from the word go and is resulting in the very problems it allegedly sought to "solve". Only competition, brutal head-to-head competition between companies, could result in positive ends.
    You mean the brutal head to head competition between the telcos, where they all essentially offer the same service for the same price. Pick your poison. Let me give you another specific example. I lived in Ashland Oregon for seven years. The city of Ashland put in there own fiber network throughout the city. They offer both Internet and TV. Charter Communications has the cable franchise for the area. About six years ago Charter announced their new 25 down 5 up mbs service. Not wanting to do business with Charter I went to the company that was granted the job of implementing and maintaining the city service, to see about getting the same speed service from them. First I was told that they were not able to provide those speeds, even though fiber was in place. When I pushed back on that story I was finally told that the city council had passed a rule that said they could not go higher then 5 down 1 up. So here we have a case of city council being bribed to not allow competition. This while the city was in a very bad financial situation having gone into debt for millions putting the fiber in. So tell me where the brutal competition is in this situation.
  • Reply 15 of 20
    kent909 said:
    Net Neutrality was a misguided idea from the word go and is resulting in the very problems it allegedly sought to "solve". Only competition, brutal head-to-head competition between companies, could result in positive ends.
    You mean the brutal head to head competition between the telcos, where they all essentially offer the same service for the same price. Pick your poison. Let me give you another specific example. I lived in Ashland Oregon for seven years. The city of Ashland put in there own fiber network throughout the city. They offer both Internet and TV. Charter Communications has the cable franchise for the area. About six years ago Charter announced their new 25 down 5 up mbs service. Not wanting to do business with Charter I went to the company that was granted the job of implementing and maintaining the city service, to see about getting the same speed service from them. First I was told that they were not able to provide those speeds, even though fiber was in place. When I pushed back on that story I was finally told that the city council had passed a rule that said they could not go higher then 5 down 1 up. So here we have a case of city council being bribed to not allow competition. This while the city was in a very bad financial situation having gone into debt for millions putting the fiber in. So tell me where the brutal competition is in this situation.
    Max is 60 Mbps for residential customers in Ashland. 
  • Reply 16 of 20
    What's the difference between a company paying for a customers bandwidth or providing a 1-800 toll-free telephone number?

    I'll tell you...pin-head politicians thirsty for control of the Internet and hungry for a new agenda.

    What do you think?


  • Reply 17 of 20
    kent909 said:
    Net Neutrality was a misguided idea from the word go and is resulting in the very problems it allegedly sought to "solve". Only competition, brutal head-to-head competition between companies, could result in positive ends.
    You mean the brutal head to head competition between the telcos, where they all essentially offer the same service for the same price. Pick your poison. Let me give you another specific example. I lived in Ashland Oregon for seven years. The city of Ashland put in there own fiber network throughout the city. They offer both Internet and TV. Charter Communications has the cable franchise for the area. About six years ago Charter announced their new 25 down 5 up mbs service. Not wanting to do business with Charter I went to the company that was granted the job of implementing and maintaining the city service, to see about getting the same speed service from them. First I was told that they were not able to provide those speeds, even though fiber was in place. When I pushed back on that story I was finally told that the city council had passed a rule that said they could not go higher then 5 down 1 up. So here we have a case of city council being bribed to not allow competition. This while the city was in a very bad financial situation having gone into debt for millions putting the fiber in. So tell me where the brutal competition is in this situation.
    Your second "example" isn't competition, now is it? There's plenty of history with politicians making deals for monopoly control of cable in cities. Those politically created monopolies are precisely what the government SHOULD be disallowing...but they're the government and they're "here to help"!
  • Reply 18 of 20
    kent909kent909 Posts: 691member
    kent909 said:
    You mean the brutal head to head competition between the telcos, where they all essentially offer the same service for the same price. Pick your poison. Let me give you another specific example. I lived in Ashland Oregon for seven years. The city of Ashland put in there own fiber network throughout the city. They offer both Internet and TV. Charter Communications has the cable franchise for the area. About six years ago Charter announced their new 25 down 5 up mbs service. Not wanting to do business with Charter I went to the company that was granted the job of implementing and maintaining the city service, to see about getting the same speed service from them. First I was told that they were not able to provide those speeds, even though fiber was in place. When I pushed back on that story I was finally told that the city council had passed a rule that said they could not go higher then 5 down 1 up. So here we have a case of city council being bribed to not allow competition. This while the city was in a very bad financial situation having gone into debt for millions putting the fiber in. So tell me where the brutal competition is in this situation.
    Max is 60 Mbps for residential customers in Ashland. 
    Charter offers Internet starting at 60Mbs and AHN just announced 90Mbs max. However it is $90 a month and Charter is $39 a month for 12 months.  So it has gotten better but still cannot compete on service levels.
  • Reply 19 of 20
    kent909kent909 Posts: 691member
    kent909 said:
    You mean the brutal head to head competition between the telcos, where they all essentially offer the same service for the same price. Pick your poison. Let me give you another specific example. I lived in Ashland Oregon for seven years. The city of Ashland put in there own fiber network throughout the city. They offer both Internet and TV. Charter Communications has the cable franchise for the area. About six years ago Charter announced their new 25 down 5 up mbs service. Not wanting to do business with Charter I went to the company that was granted the job of implementing and maintaining the city service, to see about getting the same speed service from them. First I was told that they were not able to provide those speeds, even though fiber was in place. When I pushed back on that story I was finally told that the city council had passed a rule that said they could not go higher then 5 down 1 up. So here we have a case of city council being bribed to not allow competition. This while the city was in a very bad financial situation having gone into debt for millions putting the fiber in. So tell me where the brutal competition is in this situation.
    Your second "example" isn't competition, now is it? There's plenty of history with politicians making deals for monopoly control of cable in cities. Those politically created monopolies are precisely what the government SHOULD be disallowing...but they're the government and they're "here to help"!
    My understanding of cable monopolies is that in return for having the city or area exclusively yours, you must provide service to all. Where I live now Comcast wanted $34K to connect my companies building to the Internet. This is in a building that has been around since before cable TV or Internet. It is in the original industrial area of the city and 100 feet from a connected building. Comcast has had plenty of time to hook everyone up. Ah but what choice is there. But why am I whining it is 2016 and I live in the best county in the world. /s
  • Reply 20 of 20
    ifailifail Posts: 463member
    Why are people not understanding why it's sketchy as all hell? 

    Quite frankly it would be nice to down grade my VZW plan to 1 GB if everything was paid for by the companies whose services I use and websites I visit.

    BUT, I know that if say FB and Instagram and Netflix and ESPN and Spotify all offer "free data" for me, I have ZERO reason to use any competitors service because they simply cannot compete on the fact that they will not pay for my data therefore I will not use their service. This is totally lopsided for any startup as they will never be able to compete. 

    Also have we all forgotten the beautiful era of unlimited AT&T where they were desperate to get everyone off because they couldn't handle the capacity? Have their networks been so massively overhauled that they can handle streaming strain of millions of users?

    Sorry but no dice, only a full blown imbecile would believe that somehow this isn't going to come back to bite you in the ass for letting it happen.
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