FCC seems cool with T-Mobile Binge On, calls it innovative and competitive
Earlier this month T-Mobile announced its latest Un-carrier hook, giving users access to streaming video that didn’t count against their data plan with its Binge On system. No sooner was Binge On announced, though, than it seemed like the service brought all manner of critics out of the woodwork. Beyond our own concerns over reduced video quality, and statements from other carriers about possible network congestion, we saw plenty of you readers sounding off in the comments with questions about net neutrality: was this free pass for certain streaming video services (but not others) going to invite the wrath of the FCC? Seemingly not, as FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler makes some very positive comments about Binge On.
Wheeler calls the T-Mobile effort “highly innovative and highly competitive,” both qualities the FCC likes to promote in the mobile space.
He further goes on to explain that T-Mobile’s implementation of Binge On does not appear to violate FCC rules against paid prioritization, and that it should instead be considered in terms of the agency’s general conduct rule. The question there is whether or not Binge On puts T-Mobile “in a position to unreasonably interfere with the access between someone who’s trying to get to an edge provider and an edge provider who is trying to get to a consumer.”
Ultimately, that puts the FCC in a wait-and-see position, not making any movement until there’s evidence that T-Mobile may be interfering with that kind of access. For now, Binge On is free to keep operating.