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AT&T Still Interested in Developers Paying Fee to Bypass Caps
New Consumer Survey Promises Free Data 'Paid For by Movie Studios'
by Karl Bode 04:25PM Wednesday Dec 19 2012 Tipped by djrobx See Profile
Back in February we noted that AT&T, the company that really started the network neutrality debate to begin with, had come up with yet another awful new idea: charging app makers a fee if they wanted to reach consumers without hitting their usage caps.

Click for full size
While AT&T presented the idea as akin to a 1-800 number for data or "free shipping," what it actually is a troll toll imposed by AT&T allowing them to rake in new cash -- and impose their power on a content ecosystem that operates better with AT&T out of the way.

Despite significant backlash from consumers and consumer advocates, AT&T continues to pursue their interest in such a system. A reader writes in to tell us that AT&T is circulating a survey trying to gather support for the idea, by framing the discussion in the context of movie studios paying for the bandwidth to watch their trailers. The survey question:
quote:
While using your phone to search for content such as movies, games or music, you see a symbol or logo that indicates that the data usage for downloading or streaming will be free. It will not count against your monthly data plan.

For example, the 20 or so MB to watch a movie trailer would be paid for by the movie studio since they want you to watch it. You know the data usage will be free because you see the logo or symbol.

How interested are you in trying this idea described above?
"When I answered "not interested" the survey ended quickly," says tipster djrobx See Profile.

Most users, however, will simply be excited by the promise of "free data," and will be clueless to the broader implications of AT&T erecting a new toll system on content providers. That's something that again sits at the very heart of the network neutrality debate, since AT&T's been trying to offload network costs onto content companies for going on a decade. The framing of AT&T's question will illicit a positive response from those users, allowing AT&T to insist they have broad support for what's actually a very unpopular idea.

In reality, AT&T's plan puts AT&T in the position of picking winners and losers in the app and content ecosystem, depending on who can shell out the most cash to AT&T. Given AT&T's track record on nickel and diming consumers and acting anti-competitively, that's not something that informed consumers and content developers (especially smaller ones) are going to want, and it's certainly going to drive up prices for everybody in the telecom and content ecosystem. Your cap bypassing movie trailer will come at a steep cost.

What informed developers and consumers want is for AT&T to stay the hell out of the way and just run a quality network at a decent price, something numerous consumer studies say they continue to struggle with. If AT&T wants to offer cheaper data plans (they don't), then offer cheaper data plans. Erecting an entirely new system where companies pay AT&T for the privilege of being on a list of "cap free" content unnecessarily gives a company with a history of an abuse of power -- too much additional power.

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Taget

join:2004-07-29

1 recommendation

But of course the Data would not be "free".

They want to sell you movies with a bandwidth surcharge tacked on to the price of the movie. While preventing smaller more independent companies from ever being competitive with it.

buddahbless

join:2005-03-21
Premium
Reviews:
·AT&T DSL Service

Re: But of course the Data would not be "free".

Exactly if the content owner must pay a fee guess who will end up paying for it in the end! Your free ad will mean a .50c hike at the movie theater per ticket sold to cover those free Internet ads, and if that does not recoup the cost A $1 price hike on those $14.99 NEW RELEASE DVD sales at retailers.

Drew4u

@tmodns.net

Re: But of course the Data would not be "free".

Sounds like only companies who are well funded, and possibly publicly traded will be able to participate.

If AT&T wants to get into the movie business, they should open a studio. After all, they seem to have a good marketing department, and apend money on actors like Will Arnett next to a tiger print Lamborghini.

However, getting spectrum at the expense of broadcasters is an interesting subject. Let's not soon forget the REAL reason why we had to upgrade to HDTV... It was so an auction of those 700Mhz airwave rights could occur.

AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1

their wet dream...

...is now closer to reality

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

1 recommendation

If there are data caps and by-the-byte-billing...

Then that means things I don't want or shouldn't have to pay for cost me money. (Ads.... patches for defective software... hacking/DDoS attempts, virus scans, etc etc) all data I didn't ask for and don't want.

Under the law, being charged for unwanted services meets the legal definition of damages. This means that in court it's an open-and-shut case to prove you suffered loss as a result of other's actions you neither desired or wanted. Under a overage or by-the-byte billing system, you could sue ISP's and others for damages, and expect to win.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Re: If there are data caps and by-the-byte-billing...

I think that's an oversimplification, because you sign up for a data plan with your smartphone and the internet comes with ads, and hacking attempts. AT&T doesn't even provide the ads, the software on your smartphone does (many of which are free because of those ads). By purchasing the service you are agreeing to pay for all that internet access comes with.

As far as patches for defective software I'd think you'd want those or else those hacking attempts might work. In the end this is all stuff that unfortunately comes with any type of internet access and I don't think it's reasonable to expect anything else. The one thing that may be at AT&T's control is hacking/DDoS attempts which most network operators do try to control.

Think of it this way, was it ever illegal for the telephone company to charge you for incoming calls that you didn't want? no, it's the same thing.

In the end if per-byte billing is legal, then technically paying for data to be free to smartphone users is legal, as long as all your doing is switching the payment for that data to another source and not changing the priority or speed of the data traffic.

Do I like it? no, wireless companies continue to rip us off with artificially low caps not designed to protect the network but merely increase profits. Unfortunately I think that if this ever gets off the grounds, average consumers not thinking much about the actual impact will just be happy to get free data (from their perspective)

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

1 recommendation

Re: If there are data caps and by-the-byte-billing...

What will actually happen is they'll just put it in the ToS that you can be charged for whatever they say, and if you don't like it, go pound sand.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini
Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL
what about cable systems that bill for ARP data, IP overhead, data sent when you internet is offline, rounding.

NOCMan
MacChatter
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Colorado Springs, CO
When I lived in Korea the caller had to pay for the call to the 2nd party even cellular. So incoming calls were free for everyone.
axus

join:2001-06-18
Washington, DC
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 recommendation

I'm not sure, if I received harassing, emotionally distressing phone calls, I wouldn't expect AT&T or Verizon to be liable for that. Big difference there, I don't have to pick up the phone. Are TCP/IP connection attempts that your system refuses counted against data cap?

That would be an interesting feature, being able to choose some rules for a firewall at AT&T's side, so the traffic is blocked before it goes out. Costs them money so it'd never happen.

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

1 recommendation

Re: If there are data caps and by-the-byte-billing...

Correct, all traffic counts. So for example, someone could flood your IP and drive up your bill.

va176thunder

join:2001-09-14
Columbus, OH
Reviews:
·WOW Internet and..

Really?

I trust them about as much as I trust any entity where I am pay per unit of measurement - none. Want go this route, I'll lobby heavily for their "scales" or "meters" to be tested/validated by a gov't agency for accuracy - just like we do for fuel.
--
and the hits just keep on coming.........
georgeglass5

join:2010-06-07
New York, NY

This type of bs is unsustainable in the long run

AT&T is at the top of the cusp of corporations run a f in muck, with outright greed & they don't even, so much as try to hide it...

jester121
Premium
join:2003-08-09
Lake Zurich, IL

New Consumer Survey "Promises" ...

The survey "promised" something? Please elaborate.

From a cursory glance at your self-links and what you've posted today, it looks like they're floating a trial balloon to judge the winds.

But that wouldn't really be "news" would it....
patronanejo

join:2009-09-10
EC2R 8AH

Re: New Consumer Survey "Promises" ...


Breezy language won't make their behaviour any less malign.
said by jester121:

From a cursory glance...it looks like they're floating a trial balloon to judge the winds.

If by that, you mean

The bastards are gauging the level of public awareness to determine how much they can get away with before subscriber resistance affects the value proposal.

then yeah, you're right on the money, pal.

jester121
Premium
join:2003-08-09
Lake Zurich, IL

Re: New Consumer Survey "Promises" ...

That's what businesses do in a marketplace, it's basic economics.

(meaningless bold text added for no reason whatsoever, just to fit in.)
patronanejo

join:2009-09-10
EC2R 8AH

1 edit

Re: New Consumer Survey "Promises" ...


FUD much?
said by jester121:

That's what businesses do in a marketplace, it's basic economics.

Since when does basic economics dictate that businesses should operate in the least-transparent manner possible, spreading disinformation if necessary to distort market forces in a way that favours the rogue operator--and imposes a disproportionate cost on the consumer and the wider economy?

The promise of capitalism is that resources are allocated most efficiently when the unfettered exchange of goods generates transparent, freely-available information that is allowed to set the price of said goods according to supply and demand.

Defend unethical practices all you want, but I'll not allow you to redefine racketeering as basic economics. Market distortion is not a legitimate business practice, and the deliberate corruption of market information does not contribute toward a properly-functioning capitalist economy.

Your definition of basic economics is more commonly described as fraud.

jester121
Premium
join:2003-08-09
Lake Zurich, IL

Re: New Consumer Survey "Promises" ...

Lighten up, Francis. It's a survey.
patronanejo

join:2009-09-10
EC2R 8AH

Re: New Consumer Survey "Promises" ...

said by jester121:

Lighten up, Francis. It's a survey.

That's rich. You spew perfunctory talking points designed to impede the momentum of snowballing public response to AT&T's anti-competitive, anti-consumer Weltanschauung--until you're held accountable for your obfuscations and distortions. Then it's others who need to "lighten up."

No legitimate survey has predetermined results. This fraud has been crafted to lead subscribers into expressing a preference for ad-sponsored data, selectively applying bandwidth caps in order to prejudice the results against net neutrality--and ultimately, to deceive regulators.

Sunshine is the best disinfectant. When public awareness is your enemy, redoubling your efforts to suppress it only puts your credibility at greater peril.

I hope you're well-compensated for your dedication to obstruction and empty sloganeering, I'm surprised the HulkaBurger franchise leaves you enough time.

Tel

join:2001-10-12
Mauldin, SC
Reviews:
·AT&T Southeast
said by jester121:

The survey "promised" something? Please elaborate.

From a cursory glance at your self-links and what you've posted today, it looks like they're floating a trial balloon to judge the winds.

But that wouldn't really be "news" would it....

It's news if the writer of this article can pin anything derogatory on AT&T. If he spent as much time on his writing skills as he does on slamming only companies he obviously dislikes, he could actually write an article and not resort to copy and paste.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

You get to pay for overages even when you don't go over

As I've said before, this is a great scam because it makes you pay for overages even when you don't go over the cap. How? Well, let's suppose you have a 2 GB cap that you're, say, 10% into. So then you fire up an app that accesses this so-called "toll-free" data. Well, the company behind that app is buying that data from AT&T, and they aren't going to just eat that cost. You'll end up paying for it, one way or another. So, since you are going to end up paying for data when you aren't over your cap, you're essentially paying an overage, even though you aren't over.

MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
kudos:1

Re: You get to pay for overages even when you don't go over

Good point.

NotTheMama
What Would Earl Do?

join:2012-12-06
said by ISurfTooMuch:

You'll end up paying for it, one way or another.

Reminds me of "free" TV. Everything you buy has the cost for advertising it built-in to the price--jacking up the price by orders of magnitude. Sponsored Internet "service"... sponsored TV... another horse of the same color.
--
"...but ya doesn't hasta call me Johnson!"

NotTheMama
What Would Earl Do?

join:2012-12-06

"AT&T Still Interested "

...in ripping people off in every way possible. (nothing new there)
--
"...but ya doesn't hasta call me Johnson!"

monchis
Premium
join:2002-12-09
Los Angeles, CA
kudos:1

Don't even

Understand how people are willing to pay so much for shitty service.
--
dslreports.com
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY

I hate this idea, I _really_ hate this idea...

... for all the reasons outlined by Karl, whom I rarely agree with. I'm not sure it would go to the extent that he thinks it would (anybody can afford an 800 number, they aren't exactly the exclusive domain of big business), but little good will come of this in the end.

It's moot anyway, because the content/app creators that pay for this will simply pass the cost along to their customers. Now, perhaps they can swing a deal with AT&T and get a better price for data than you or I can, but it seems doubtful that any of those savings (if they can happen) will be passed along to consumers.

Dominokat
"Hi"
Premium
join:2002-08-06
Boothbay, ME
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

This *IS* ATT

These are the same people/company that initially started the wave of capping bandwidth. Of which, they succeeded with even though us consumers thought it sucked.

Since this is ATT with their deep pockets, I suspect this will slowly come into being.

Corporate/ shareholder/ Wall Street greed would not have it any other way. They just want the fucking cash.

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

Re: This *IS* ATT

Talk about Wall Street greed, how about Zagg charging 39.99 for an iPad screen protector which is nothing more than a piece of plastic that costs about 5 cents to make. Same with prescription drugs; they charge $200 for a 20 year old medication that costs less than $5 to make and the pharmacy gets pennies on the dollar in terms of a markup thanks to greedy insurers. One of my medications costs about $900 for a 30-day supply.

That's what I call greed. It's all over the marketplace.

morbo
Complete Your Transaction

join:2002-01-22
00000
Reviews:
·Charter

AT&T: "We're super greedy but we don't want to innovate"

AT&T is still stuck with the monopoly mentality that they can do nothing -- no innovation, no leadership in the telecom field, no positive steps forward for the market -- and yet they are entitled to your money with these schemes that systematically change the nature of the internet while lining their pockets. AT&T's greed knows no bounds.
megarock

join:2001-06-28
Catawissa, MO

The DOJ

...needs to break up AT & T again. They clearly didn't learn their lesson the first time.

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

Re: The DOJ

said by megarock:

...needs to break up AT & T again. They clearly didn't learn their lesson the first time.

They learned their lesson. A different kind.....

... not the lesson about being anti-competitive, or acting like a monopoly, no. The lesson they learned is they needed to "invest" more in Congresscritters and politics to leash the DOJ, FCC, FTC, etc.

They learned that lesson VERY well.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA

Re: The DOJ

If the DOJ functioned today like it did in 1984, Comcast and all other broadband ISPs would be forced to allow competitors use their lines.

MxxCon

join:1999-11-19
Brooklyn, NY

Developers Paying Fee to Bypass Caps

Karl, in case you were not aware, Google(of all companies ) is already doing and paying for this free data in other parts of the world. See »www.theverge.com/2012/11/8/36171···lippines
--
[Sig removed by Administrator: signature can not exceed 20GB]
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Reality

Spectrum is finite.
Not all data are equal.

Your oft-celebrated European cellular model succeeded using the calling-party-pays model.

There is no reason to fear AT&T offering the equivalent for wireless data streams.

Stop the hate.
Expand your moderator at work

NOCMan
MacChatter
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Colorado Springs, CO

Apple Could Step In And...

Threaten to not let them have the iPhone 6 for 6 months if they charge their developers extra money to reach their customers.

It's the stupidest thing in the world. AT&T is doing nothing more than trying to burn the candle at both ends. Apple pays AT&T for bandwidth to their datacenters, the bill has been paid. The customer pays for the bandwidth their cell phones use as well.

So now the idiots want to charge the people who make everything people even want to be on the internet for. The content creators.

I'm sure the RIAA/MPAA will want a cut if AT&T starts wanting to charge Artists for downloading their songs off of iTunes or other online music venues.
--
Ski News - Ski Colorado Blog
Web Hosting - www.FrontRangeHosting.com

backatya

@comcast.net

ATT CEO

ATT CEO is stupid and he will do them in just like Balmer is doing MS in. Thanks for the laughs.
patronanejo

join:2009-09-10
EC2R 8AH

1 edit

re: Reality

said by elray:

Spectrum is finite.

And disinformation knows no bounds. The implication that we are running out of spectrum is debunked by actual science.
said by elray:

Not all data are equal.

Just like people, all bits are equal until a corrupt power is allowed to make some less equal than others.
said by elray:

Your oft-celebrated European cellular model succeeded using the calling-party-pays model.

Caller-pays is apparently integral to the ITU's recent power grab--which has inspired nothing in the way of adulation among users here.
Moreover, this AT&T proposal isn't a caller-to-caller paradigm wherein the call is completed at no cost to the receiving party....
said by elray:

There is no reason to fear AT&T offering the equivalent for wireless data streams.

...In contrast, this is an advertiser-supported model wherein the advertiser bears the proximal cost of initiating the call--investing in the opportunity to pass that cost along to the receiving party (accompanied by additional fees and charges) at some later date.
No "equivalent" opportunity is available to the private citizen in the caller-to-caller paradigm.
said by elray:

Stop the hate.

Allowing misinformation to stand unopposed is to collaborate with corruption. Hate is more appropriate than cowardice.
djcrazy
Premium
join:2009-08-05
Minneapolis, MN
Reviews:
·Comcast
·T-Mobile US

Here we go again

This company needs to be bitch slapped again, like it was in the 80's. Unfortunately, I doubt it will happen this time around since our government is bought and paid for by these companies.

The thing to do is boycott these greedy douchbags and flat out refuse the service altogether. Both Verizon and AT&T do business like this. If you can get T Mobile, do it. Out of the 4 major carriers, they seem to play the most fair and hopefully the funding from the increased customer base will continue to be used to upgrade the network.

Being in my 40s now, I have seen how AT&T has been ripping people off for generations and this started even before I was born. Speak with your wallet and just say NO as this is the ONLY thing that gets through to these people. If AT&T was the only carrier I could choose from in my area, I would do without.

TomS_
Git-r-done
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-19
London, UK
kudos:5

Re: Here we go again

You can tell as many people to "vote with their wallet" as you like, but logic just doesnt speak to some people. They only see dollar and cent signs in the end.