As carriers battled with the government over net neutrality, our video watching habits weighed in the balance.
Net neutrality has been a big buzzword over the recent past. In all honesty, I could see and agree with arguments on both sides of the equation. Because of this, I’m not going to make any sort of statement one way or another. After all, this is a site for people who love BlackBerry, not a political site right? But we all like our free data right?
This free data that was coming under fire by the FCC was coming in the form of “free streaming” which carriers began offering. Now, it was not free streaming of all media, which was why the idea was coming under fire from the government. Instead, it was free streaming of media which the carriers owned or were partnered with. This of course, can make it difficult for other services which are trying to compete. But what does it mean for the user? It meant free stuff of course.
The likelihood of these offers sticking around for any length of time seemed slim, and I think most of us were content to just enjoy it until government stepped in and said no more. Now, that’s not going to happen.
The FCC sent identical letters to T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast stating that their inquiries into the matter had been dropped. “Through this letter, I am notifying your company that the Bureau has closed this inquiry,” it said in the letters. “Any conclusions, preliminary or otherwise, expressed during the course of the inquiry will have no legal or other meaning or effect going forward.”
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai confirmed that the FCC was taking a new direction under the new administration, “These free-data plans have proven to be popular among consumers, particularly low-income Americans, and have enhanced competition in the wireless marketplace. Going forward, the Federal Communications Commission will not focus on denying Americans free data. Instead, we will concentrate on expanding broadband deployment and encouraging innovative service offerings.”
Now that’s something I can get behind.