FCC Chairman Is Chill About AT&T’s New Sponsored Data Plans

sponsoreddata

When AT&T announced it’s new Sponsored Data program on Monday, they raised the grim spectre of Net Neutraility by suggesting a plan that would let advertisers pay for data. What people worried about was that AT&T’s new plan would slow data connections to non-partner sites, a big no-no according to the FCC.

So what does the FCC think of all this? Asked about AT&T’s new plans at CES, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler was surprisingly chill about the whole thing: let’s just wait and see before freaking out, shall we?

The Verge has Wheeler’s comments:

“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.”

He outlined what wireless and broadband service companies should do to stay out of the FCC’s crosshairs: “you won’t screw up operation of the internet, you won’t act in anticompetitive or preferential ways.” He added: “We’ll use those kinds of tests to see what the appropriate response [from the FCC] will be, if any.”

That seems like a sensible approach, although AT&T has certainly proven itself in the past to be a company that will take a mile given an inch. The FCC better watch closely.

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  • aardman

    If you can’t turn off the ads streaming into your phone, at least you don’t pay for the cellular data that the advertiser is cramming down your throat. Sounds fair to me.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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