“Stop! Before you download that data, make sure it’s ‘permissible,'” Dave Smith writes for ReadWrite. “In the midst of a raging debate over whether carriers should be allowed to charge more for certain types of data, or let favored developers offer users apps that don’t count against their data caps, AT&T has applied for a patent on a credit system that would let it discriminate between ‘permissible’ and ‘non-permissible’ traffic on its network.”
“According to the application, AT&T would be allowed to decide what other content is ‘non-permissible’—movies and file-sharing files are just examples—and the carrier could also levy additional fees or terminate the user’s access if they tried to access unauthorized content or exceeded their ‘credit allotment,'” Smith writes. “Here’s why people find that scary and annoying: It violates a longstanding principle of the Internet, called ‘net neutrality,’ that holds that Internet service providers should treat all the data on their networks equally.”
MacDailyNews Take: Do not confuse the principle of “net neutrality” with other so-called proposals labeled “net neutrality.” Read the fine print.
“A recent ruling in Verizon’s favor has weakened the Federal Communications Commission’s ability to regulate carriers like AT&T—which sets the stage for putting a system like the one described in this patent application into place,” Smith writes. “To be clear, AT&T hasn’t been granted a patent yet. But its intentions to charge more or less for various kinds of data have been clear for some time. Just last month, the company introduced a new ‘sponsored data’ plan that allows some companies to pay AT&T in exchange for data usage by their apps not counting against a user’s data cap. In other words, companies willing to pay AT&T a toll will receive preferential status.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Resist the all-too-frequent urge from some to prematurely regulate. Beware unintended consequences. Let market forces first work their magic – or not. If anything needs to be regulated, at least then the path(s) will be less occluded.
Here’s an example over which to ruminate: Apple skims off a bit of its mountain range of cash to secure sufficient bandwidth to support an all-new content delivery service, “Apple iTV” that delivers things without which we discover we cannot live after about three days of use (see: Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc.) Without securing necessary bandwidth, Apple’s revolutionary new service would be doomed to failure and, without the capability in place to secure necessary bandwidth, Apple’s revolution would in fact never even have been developed in the first place.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]