Verizon brings free data to its own go90 streaming video service – is that still net-neutral?
Net neutrality may be the law of the land, but carriers aren’t about to sit idly by and treat all content as equal while there’s money to be made by doing the opposite. So while paid prioritization may be out the window so long as the FCC is getting its way, carriers have been quick to come at things from another direction, championing the rise of “zero-rated” data schemes that allow content providers to get their media to users without those viewers having to use their expensive mobile data allotment in the process. Last year we heard that Verizon was looking into doing just that with its in-house go90 streaming service, and today we see confirmation of those plans arrive.
Last month, Verizon announced its FreeBee Data scheme, letting sign up to bring their services to Verizon users without that data eating through anyone’s monthly plan. While that was certainly a zero-rated offering, the news arrived without mention of go90 at all. Today the carrier announces that go90 will indeed be taking advantage of FreeBee Data.
Interestingly, this free-to-consume data will be available to all users of go90, so long as they’re on the latest version of the service’s app. Previously, we heard a report claiming that this move would be part of a larger push towards a premium edition of go90; contrary to that rumor, Verizon users won’t have to pay anything at all to get access to this free go90 data.
None of this does anything to address the still contentious subject of whether or not this kind of one-rule-for-some-data, different-rules-for-other-data practice is fully kosher, but as more and more carriers offer such plans – and especially as they push their own services through them, as Verizon is doing here – expect the issue to be brought to a head.