Well, wireless carrier AT&T didn’t waste any time rolling out new “features” that take advantage of the downfall of net neutrality. The company has announced plans to expand its “sponsored data” program to its prepaid wireless customers.
This program offers content companies the option to “sponsor” their data so it doesn’t count against the customers’ data caps. If you’re wondering, this is under the definition of “paid fast lanes” that wireless carriers have been boasting about.
As of right now, AT&T only has three services covered under its sponsored data program: DirecTV, UVerse, and Fullscreen. What’s more interesting is that those three video services are owned by AT&T. “Now your plan includes sponsored data. This means, for example, that customers who have DirecTV or U-verse TV can now stream movies and shows … without it counting against their plan data,” AT&T told customers in a text message sent yesterday.
This move by AT&T isn’t all that surprising given that it was persuading consumers that the FCC’s net neutrality repeal won’t be the end of a free and open internet. “AT&T intends to operate its network the same way AT&T operates its network today: in an open and transparent manner. We will not block websites, we will not throttle or degrade internet traffic based on content, and we will not unfairly discriminate in our treatment of internet traffic,” executive Bob Quinn said at the time.