US Federal Communications Commission concerned about AT&T’s and Verizon’s zero-rating services

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a report outlining the result of a policy review it conducted over the course of 2016, and which was focused on the zero-rating (called ‘sponsored data’) plans offered by T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon. These plans were reviewed against the net neutrality rules adopted by the FCC in 2015. In the case of T-Mobile, the FCC finds it ‘unlikely that the offering violates’ the applicable regulations, while, for Verizon, the report notes that there is ‘potential for discriminatory conduct in favor of affiliate services’. With regard to AT&T’s Sponsored Data plan (enabling third party edge providers to deliver streaming edge content on a zero-rated basis to AT&T’s mobile broadband subscribers), the FCC finds that it presents competitive problems, and that there is ‘a substantial possibility that some of AT&T’s practices may violate’ the applicable regulations. The Commission’s chair also sent a letter to US senators on the same subject, outlining that AT&T’s and Verizon’s zero-rating services ‘present significant risks to consumers and competition’.