FCC Will Closely Examine AT&T's New 'Sponsored Data' Plan
AT&T's long-gestating "sponsored data" idea was made official this week, the company's plan involving some companies paying AT&T in exchange for their content not counting against a user's LTE data cap
. Net neutrality advocates and consumer advocate groups like Free Press are none too impressed
, stating that AT&T is effectively using their market power to select winners and losers in the market, with companies able to pay more money to receive preferred status (with you likely just paying more for content as those costs are passed on).
For what it's worth, new FCC boss Tom Wheeler states that the FCC will take a closer look at AT&T's ambitions
, and take action if they feel the plan is being used anti-competitively:
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler used his talk at CES today to put AT&T's controversial new "Sponsored Data" program on notice. "My attitude is: let's take a look at what this is, let's take a look at how it operates," Wheeler said. "And be sure, that if it interferes with the operation of the internet; that if it develops into an anticompetitive practice; that if it does have some kind of preferential treatment given somewhere, then that is cause for us to intervene."
It remains unclear if Wheeler, who was previously a lobbyist for the wireless industry, will have the same personal definition of anti-competitive as the rest of us.