The internet is a vast place, many things could be found and discovered, learned and shared, and for the most part, is relatively free. Minus the fact that you have to pay for access, once granted, you a free to roam about the world. AT&T has announced a new way to receive information from the internet, and it comes with a price, literally.
This sounds as bad as it actually is, especially for those who cherish the free aspect of the internet. The idea brought to you by AT&T allows developers and brands to give you content via the interwebs, even after you have reached mobile data limits. The catch is that they will have to pay a fee in order to do so.
The easiest example to give for how this works is when renting a movie. Lets say you rent a movie, normally an HD movie costs about $4.99 on Google Play as well as iTunes. Once you pay the initial fee for the movie, you may choose to stream the movie using your data plan as well. That’s when an extra charge comes in, especially if you have reached your data limit and need to pay overage fees. Well with AT&T’s new service, that extra charge for using data can be covered by the movie makers or advertising companies. Sounds like a fair deal, heck, sounds like a great deal, but the implications will come down the road from companies we love who provide free content already.
An example of that is YouTube, the internet was up in arms when YouTube talked about launching a pay service for certain content. Why pay for something that already comes free? Yes we deal with commercials from time to time, but that is money that goes towards our favorite YouTuber’s, allowing them to make more content that we love. Now lets say that another video streaming company takes full advantage of the new options allowed by AT&T. As money conscious consumers start to realize that they will save money going with the other guys, they may choose to leave YouTube and use the other guys. If that is the case, than that would mean that YouTube will have to start charging for their service with a small upfront cost before allowing us to watch. Those fees will trickle down all the way to the content creators, and we just seem to have a big mess on our hands.
Once the fee trickles down to content creators, who do you think will pick up the tab? Lets go back to that movie example, a $4.99 movie rental from the Play Store, with data fees covered, will now be $5.99 or even more, just to make up the costs.
Overall, it’s odd how AT&T is launching this service, with such enthusiasm, as if people aren’t reading between the lines. AT&T will become an internet monopoly almost, and even though it sounds like we are saving, it will be only a matter of time before the costs come back to bite us in the wallets.