Menu
ISPs are breaking net neutrality rules, advocacy groups say

ISPs are breaking net neutrality rules, advocacy groups say

So-called zero-rating plans allow ISPs to pick 'winners and losers'

Internet service providers are picking "winners and losers" in violation of U.S. net neutrality rules by selectively exempting Web traffic from their monthly data caps, according to a coalition of more than 50 advocacy groups.

The Federal Communications Commission should stop ISPs from exempting selected Web traffic, known as offering zero-rating plans, and enforce its year-old net neutrality rules, the digital rights and consumer groups said in a letter to the agency Monday.

Zero-rating plans "present a serious threat" to the open Internet, the letter said. "They distort competition, thwart innovation, threaten free speech, and restrict consumer choice."

In some cases, ISPs are favoring their own Web content in zero-rating plans, and in other cases, they are charging application providers a fee to be zero-rated, the letter said. While the FCC's net neutrality rules say ISPs cannot charge websites and apps for "access to a fast lane," some mobile ISPs have created a new toll by charging them to be exempted from data caps, the letter said.

Groups signing on to the letter include Access Now, Consumers Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future and Free Press.

T-Mobile, a pioneer of zero-rating plans, declined to comment on the letter. After months of sparring, the mobile carrier announced an agreement to include YouTube in its Binge On zero-rating program in mid-March.

T-Mobile has argued that its zero-rating plan, by exempting several video services from its data caps, is good for customers.

Comcast, meanwhile, disputed that its streaming service, Stream TV, is a zero-rating plan.

"Comcast’s Stream TV is a cable service that never touches the Internet and so by definition can’t be so-called zero-rated," Sena Fitzmaurice, Comcast's vice president for government communications, said by email. "If you take the logical conclusion, that would mean all cable television service we deliver would somehow be the same."

But the new letter called on the FCC move against zero-rating plans. "Without action from the FCC, zero-rating plans will continue to expand, and ISPs will continue to seek out ways to monetize capped broadband service at the expense of an open Internet and the communities that rely on it," the letter said.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?

From new extortion schemes, outside threats and rising cyber attacks, the art of securing the enterprise has seldom been so complex or challenging. With distance no longer a viable defence, Kiwi businesses are fighting to stay ahead of the security curve. In total, 28 per cent of local businesses faced a cyber attack last year, with the number in New Zealand set to rise in 2017. Yet amidst the sensationalism, media headlines and ongoing high profile breaches, confusion floods the channel, as partners seek strategic methods to combat rising sophistication from attackers. In sizing up the security spectrum, this Reseller News roundtable - in association with F5 Networks, Kaspersky Lab, Tech Data, Sophos and SonicWall - assessed where the channel sweet spot is within the New Zealand channel. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?
Show Comments