Completely disregarding the rules of net neutrality put in place last year by the FCC, Verizon has just made a controversial change to its own Go90 mobile video service: any content watching on the app won’t count towards customers’ LTE data limits. Watching videos from any other source? That’s going to eat into their monthly allotment. The move follows rival T-Mobile with its Binge On service, which also throttles video content.
The changes were revealed as part of an update to the Go90 apps for both iOS and Android released this week. The fine print now says that users can “stream Go90 videos over LTE without using up your data.” But don’t expect the same if watching video from Netflix or YouTube.
Verizon’s video platform has content from several providers, including Comedy Central, DreamWorks TV, Nerdist, and the NBA, but it’s far from an all-encompassing entertainment service. The real controversy is that some of the content on Go90 can also be found elsewhere, like The Daily Show for example. Watching that on Verizon’s app won’t count towards data caps, but streaming it from anywhere else will.
While the FCC’s rules clearly ban the practice of giving preferential treatment to certain content, mobile carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile are exploiting a loophole to get away with it anyway. “Zero-rating” services such as Go90 are said to be in benefit of the customers, but the only that really benefits is Verizon. The FCC is said to already be looking into this practice, so hopefully Verizon’s latest move will draw more attention to exploitative intent.
Update: T-Mobile has been in contact to offer its perspective on Verizon’s changes, highlighting that Binge On “is open to all streaming video providers” and that it “is free for both the streaming provider and the consumer.” Unlike Verizon in this case, “T-Mobile doesn’t prioritize its own content properties” the carrier says.
VIA Droid Life