Skip to main content

FCC halts investigations into zero-rating data programs like T-Mobile’s Binge On

fcc chairman pai makes net neutrality plans official ajit
Image used with permission by copyright holder
The Federal Communications Commission recently gained a new head in Ajit Pai, and the agency is already showing signs of a policy shift on key issues like net neutrality.

According to recent letters posted by the agency, a number of inquiries into how carriers allow customers to access some services without it counting against their data, have been dropped. An instance of this is T-Mobile’s Binge-On program, which was being investigated for unfairly favoring some services over others. Similar concerns were raised over AT&T’s Sponsored Data program.

Advocates of net neutrality have long held to the belief that such programs are harmful to lesser-known services, and that carrier giants should be able to pick the winners and losers of the internet. Critics of net neutrality, however, argue that such rules harm competition among carriers.

Identical letters were sent to T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast today, suggesting that inquiries have been dropped and investigations closed. T-Mobile has arguably been the most dominant force in offering sponsored data programs, and its Binge-On service has been quite popular among customers.

“Any conclusions, preliminary or otherwise, expressed during the course of the inquiry will have no legal or other meaning or effect going forward,” read the letter. On top of posting the letter to the FCC website, FCC chairman Ajit Pai confirmed separately that the FCC would not be making similar inquiries in the future.

“These free-data plans have proven to be popular among consumers, particularly low-income Americans, and have enhanced competition in the wireless marketplace,” Pai said. “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.”

Only time will tell if this represents the start of a bigger push against Title II and net neutrality in general.

Editors' Recommendations

Christian de Looper
Christian’s interest in technology began as a child in Australia, when he stumbled upon a computer at a garage sale that he…
Samsung just announced another new phone (and two Android tablets)
Official product renders of the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE.

Just months after releasing the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5, Samsung has introduced another new phone and two tablets. The latest additions to the FE family are the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE, Galaxy Tab S9 FE, and the Galaxy Tab S9 FE Plus.

The FE series is designed to offer an affordable entry point to the Samsung Galaxy universe while still providing many of the same features found in more expensive models. In announcing the new products, TM Roh, president and head of Mobile Experience Business at Samsung Electronics, said: “Our new FE devices are packed with crowd-pleasing premium capabilities that, on their own or as part of a connected ecosystem, let Galaxy users maximize their creativity and productivity.”
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE

Read more
Get an unlocked iPhone 14 Pro Max for under $900 with this deal
The iPhone 14 Pro Max next to a green pepper.

Backmarket has one of the best iPhone deals at the moment with the iPhone 14 Pro Max available for $887, reduced from $1,099. The sizeable saving is in part thanks to this particular iPhone 14 Pro Max being a refurbished model. Don't let that put you off though. When buying through Backmarket, it's a verified refurbished model that has been through many testing processes to guarantee it's in fantastic condition. It comes with a one-year warranty too along with a free 30-day return window if you're concerned. Sound good? Here's what you need to know about the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Why you should buy the iPhone 14 Pro Max
Back when it launched, we considered the iPhone 14 Pro Max to be "nearly perfect". It has a huge 6.7-inch OLED display with a resolution of 2796 x 1290. Up to 2,000 nits of brightness are possible in the right situation while there's also a 120Hz ProMotion refresh rate to ensure silky smooth browsing and scrolling.

Read more
Google just announced the Pixel Watch 2. Is it any good?
All three colors of the Google Pixel Watch 2 lined up together.

Google lifted the lid on the Google Pixel Watch 2 at a packed event that also witnessed the introduction of its Google Pixel 8 series phones. Aesthetically, barely anything has changed, which is mostly welcome because the Pixel-branded smartwatch stands out with its sloping glass design. But there are changes under the hood that actually push it ahead of the competition in a few ways.

But will all of this come together for a cohesive smartwatch? Here's everything we know so far.

Read more