Wednesday, July 22, 2015

AT&T Agreed to Prevent Discrimination Against Online Video Competition

More than a year after Netflix said it will discuss an agreement with AT&T, this seems to be no longer necessary (see "Netflix: First we take Comcast, then we take AT&T and Verizon; How Much it Costs?" - here).

Marguerite Reardon (pictured) reports to CNet that "To win regulatory approval for its $49 billion bid to buy satellite TV provider DirecTV, AT&T has agreed to stricter Net neutrality rules and a promise to expand its fiber-optic-based broadband network to more customers.

..Details of the conditions have not been released. But in a statement, Wheeler said that "the conditions will build on the Open Internet Order already in effect." Specifically, AT&T has agreed to prevent discrimination against online video competition by agreeing not to "exclude affiliated video services and content from data caps on its fixed broadband connections." In other words, if AT&T imposes a data cap, it's not allowed to exclude its own content from these caps while other services are counted in the cap.

To ensure that AT&T is not discriminating against other services like Netflix, which offer similar streaming video service over broadband networks, the company has agreed to submit to the FCC all "completed interconnection agreements." These agreements are commercial arrangements between companies that exchange Internet traffic. Netflix has complained publicly that other broadband providers, such as Comcast and Verizon, have forced it to pay fees to deliver its streaming video service to consumers. In the current Net neutrality order, the FCC for the first time said it would examine these deals on a case-by-case basis if complaints are filed"

See "AT&T agrees to stricter Net neutrality rules to get its DirecTV deal approved" - here.

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