Verizon Exempts Its Go90 Video Service From Data Caps, Ruffles Net Neutrality Feathers
Since net neutrality rules went into effect last summer, some telecom companies have skirted the line of what's legal, but Verizon becomes the first to outright defy the rules, and now the world wonders whether this will be the straw that breaks the camel's (FCC's) back.
When T-Mobile launched its Binge On service this past fall, some net neutrality backers claimed that it went against the spirit of the rules, given that select consumers would be given select content to be "zero-rated" - that is, data not counted towards the monthly limit. Where T-Mobile seems to be safe, though, is that this service is a major benefit to customers who have the right packages, so for many, having Binge On go away would be like a huge kick in the shins.
Where Verizon's move differs is that it's not giving any third-party zero-rated status, but instead is giving itself zero-rated status, through its Go90 service. Verizon's goal here is obvious: by having every popular streaming service make a hit against data caps, users are inevitably going to be tempted by a service that doesn't affect their cap at all. This could ultimately become unfair to Verizon's competitors, including Netflix, YouTube, and so forth.
As mentioned before, many telecoms have been testing the threshold of net neutrality, but Verizon is taking things a step so far, that the FCC might finally be forced to speak up about it and either reiterate some of the rules, or simply get Verizon to stop pulling its stunt.
It could be that in time, unlimited mobile bandwidth will become a common sight. But as it appears, if that does happen, it's not going to for quite some time. It's currently worth the time of these companies to poke at the beast and see what's allowed, but that could change overnight if the FCC wants to put a stop to this kind of shadiness.