California’s net neutrality law leads AT&T to discontinue ‘sponsored data’ services

AT&T discontinues ‘sponsored data’ services in the US due to California’s net neutrality law, otherwise known as ‘zero-rated’ plans. In a blog post, AT&T affirms that the company is ‘now prohibited from providing certain data features to consumers free of charge.’ California’s net neutrality law, known as the toughest one in the USA, prohibits blocking, speeding up and slowing down websites or whole classes of applications. The legislation goes one step forward prohibiting Internet Service Providers from violating net neutrality by not counting the content and websites they own against subscribers’ data caps and by requiring fees from websites and online services in order to prioritize their traffic. As the law can now be enforced, one of the impacts for AT&T is that it will no longer be able to exempt its DirecTV and AT&T streaming services from its wireless customers’ tiered data plans. The company argues that ‘a state-by-state approach to “net neutrality” is unworkable’ and because of that ‘the new law not only ends our ability to offer California customers such free data services but also similarly impacts our customers in states beyond California.’