The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which laid accusations against T-Mobile’s Binge On zero-rate program not being net neutral, is calling out said T-Mobile again for more bits of anti-net neutrality. This time, its targeting T-Mobile One, the carrier’s new one-for-all unlimited data plan.
Senior staff technologist Jeremy Gillula believes that an extra $25 per month to bypass speed throttling on streaming video, music and gaming is a no-go in terms of the FCC’s Open Internet Order.
“From what we’ve read thus far it seems like T-Mobile’s new plan to charge its customers extra to not throttle video runs directly afoul of the principle of net neutrality,” Gillula said.
Here’s the No Throttling rule as detailed in the Federal Communications Commission document (page 5608 if you’re following along):
A person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of Internet content, application, or service, or use of a non-harmful device, subject to reasonable network management.
Here also is how the FCC defines “paid prioritization,” which the Open Internet Order is also against:
“Paid prioritization” refers to the management of a broadband provider’s network to directly or indirectly favor some traffic over other traffic, including through use of techniques such as traffic shaping, prioritization, resource reservation, or other forms of preferential traffic management, either (a) in exchange for consideration (monetary or otherwise) from a third party, or (b) to benefit an affiliated entity.
Double whammy for T-Mobile, right? Well, it depends on how you define “reasonable network management” and whether consumers are subject to be a third party in this horse race when they are presumed to be consuming and not delivering content via the wireless network. Also not helping is the fact that T-Mobile One will be the only service plan the Un-carrier will offer come September 6. The FCC is keeping watch on the situation.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere responded to net neutrality concerns for the plan and stood for the company’s positive attitude towards net neutrality in a Facebook Live stream.
This is all about customer choice. So if a customer buys this program, we will, based upon the offer itself, deliver them video at standard definition. If they want Ultra HD and they upgrade and pay the $25, we will give them that, too. That’s choice.
His initial response to the EFF’s Binge On findings was to curse the organization out, though he tempered his later explanations.
Sprint’s Unlimited Freedom plan also provides for unlimited data with throttling for streaming video, music and gaming, but does not offer a pay-to-play upgrade.