Wyden Raises Net Neutrality Concerns With Potential AT&T-Time Warner Merger
Urges FCC to use Full Authority to Ensure Companies Do Not Engage in Anti-Consumer Zero-Rating; Will Pursue Legislation if Needed
Washington, D.C. – Following the announcement of a pending merger between AT&T and Time Warner Inc, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., in a letter today to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler, raised serious concerns of the future use of data caps and zero-rating by this potential mega-company.
“Data cap plans that zero-rate data at the discretion of the ISP violate the principle of net neutrality by creating an internet where one bit is favored over another bit absent user control,” wrote Wyden. “I am deeply concerned that if AT&T acquires Time Warner’s content, the new mega-company will have incentives to prioritize its own content over content created by small business, independent artists or by its rivals.”
“Over the coming months, I will continue to keep an eye on data caps and zero-rating, with the full intention of zealously pursuing legislation like the Data Cap Integrity Act, should it be required.”
Zero-rating is the practice of exempting certain data from counting against a user’s data cap or from incurring an extra charge.
Wyden introduced the Data Cap Integrity Act in 2012. The bill prohibits Internet Service Providers from imposing a data cap unless it is certified by the FCC and disallows any data cap plan from providing preferential treatment based on the source or content of the data, effectively not permitting harmful zero-rating.
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