One of the resurfacing topics of conversation over the last year, has been that of Net Neutrality. While the actual debate on Net Neutrality has somewhat moved on since its rules and regulations have been introduced by the FCC, the debate as to what constitutes as breaching Net Neutrality regulations has been the main talking point of late. In fact, a number of the carriers in the U.S. have been the subject of the FCC’s glare recently, albeit for different reasons.
In the case of T-Mobile, the debate of Net Neutrality focuses on the likes of their various uncarrier moves likes Binge On. While, when it come to AT&T (and more recently Verizon), much of the debate has focused on the company’s use of ‘sponsored data’. The common denominator between all three of the instances is the idea of ‘zero rated’ data. That is, either the offering to some customers the ability to zero out certain data (for instance video data through Binge On) or the ability for companies to be able to offer zeroed out date (like with sponsored data). Well, on the back of the attention these new-age services are attracting, last month saw the FCC announce they had somewhat formally invited AT&T, T-Mobile and Comcast to come in and discuss these services.
The date of those discussions was set for January 15th and as now those talks have taken place. While there is nothing monumental emerging publicly from the talks, an FCC spokesperson has confirmed that they were “productive“. The spokesperson did state that they cannot offer detailed information on the meetings or what was discussed, although, when they were asked whether any legal action was expected to take place as a result of the meetings, the spokesperson made it clear that the meetings were not designed for this purpose. Instead, they were an opportunity so that the FCC “can watch and learn“. However, with the interest and attention on services that look to cancel out select data aspects continually hitting the headlines, it does seem likely that this will not be the end of such discussions between the FCC and carriers.