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Verizon Wireless Wades Right Back Into the Net Neutrality Debate With Fios Deal (theverge.com) 37

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Verizon is taking a page out of AT&T's book by zero rating its Fios cable TV service for all Verizon Wireless customers. That means that if you purchase your mobile data plan from Verizon Wireless and your cable TV plan from Fios, you can now use the Fios Mobile app to stream live channels and on-demand shows and not have it count against your monthly data cap. (It should be noted that Verizon Wireless and Fios are separate subsidiaries, but both are owned by Verizon Communications.) This builds on Verizon's previous decision to zero rate its Go90 mobile app for customers of its own wireless service, which net neutrality advocates see as prioritizing its own products to the detriment of those from competitors and upstarts. One notable exception here is for customers with unlimited mobile data plans. Streaming Fios Mobile content will in fact count toward the unlimited plans' 22GB a month cap, after which Verizon will cap speeds. This caveat is not made clear in Verizon's marketing language, and instead is found only in the App Store release notes.
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Verizon Wireless Wades Right Back Into the Net Neutrality Debate With Fios Deal

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  • "unlimited plans' 22GB a month cap" It seems America and the rest of the world have a different idea as to the meaning of the word 'unlimited'...
    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      After 22GB, your connection may be throttled if you are on a congested cell. So you can continue to use data so it's still "unlimited" for some definitions of the word.

    • Has the rest of the world broken the laws of physics? Due to finite bandwidth and finite time no plan could ever be unlimited.

      If you understand Channel Capacity then you'd know that even with infinite bandwidth you can't transmit infinite data unless you also have an infinite signal-to-noise ratio.

  • As long as you allow AT&T to provide U-Verse/DSL service anywhere there's Verizon FIOS/DSL, and allow Verizon to provide FIOS/DSL service anywhere there's AT&T U-Verse/DSL service.

    The problem isn't really zero rating. The problem is lack of competition. Net neutrality is just a way to keep the ISPs honest if you insist on letting them keep their local cable/phone monopolies. If you get rid of the monopolies and allow competition, then you don't need to enforce net neutrality because any ISP wh
    • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Friday March 10, 2017 @10:01AM (#54011951)

      Net neutrality is just a way to keep the ISPs honest if you insist on letting them keep their local cable/phone monopolies. If you get rid of the monopolies and allow competition, then you don't need to enforce net neutrality

      You will never get competition in last mile delivery because the economics of it make it impractical.

      What needs to happen is that the companies providing the pipe should have an arms length relationship with any content providers. Comcast should be able to provide me a pipe to my house or to provide me content over that pipe but not both. Comcast cannot both own NBC and transmit its content over Comcast data lines. Given that it is economically impractical to have more than 1-2 data lines coming into any given dwelling it is unlikely that the local phone/cable monopolies will ever disappear. For economic reasons they are a natural monopoly because competition actually increases costs plus building and maintaining such a network is prohibitively expensive to new market entrants. So the dividing line should be pipe or content. Pick one and never cross that line. Collusion between pipe providers and content providers should be explicitly illegal and prosecutable under anti-trust laws.

    • I can't even begin to quantify the confusion of ideas needed to believe there's no problem with AT&T and Verizon Wireless forcing customers to pay for Netflix, Vudu, Hulu, Fandango/GO, Amazon Video, but zero-rating their own services, if the two companies are allowed to own a duopoly.

  • by Salgak1 ( 20136 ) <[salgak] [at] [speakeasy.net]> on Friday March 10, 2017 @09:33AM (#54011857) Homepage

    . . . . Verizon has been promising to expand FIOS to my area. For 10 years. And hasn't expanded coverage area ANYWHERE near me for 8 years.

    And for some obscure reason, their expansion stopped right at the border of Comcast, Charter, and Time-Warner coverage areas.

    Funny, that. . . .but, of course, nothing will ever be proven. . .

  • Zero rating (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday March 10, 2017 @09:59AM (#54011939) Homepage

    ... and this is the problem with "zero rating". When T-Mobile makes makes a whole bunch of music and video services free without a clear and obvious bias for a particular company, people asked, "What's wrong with that?" and it was harder to point to a clear problem. For many consumers, those services being free seemed like a benefit with no real downside.

    But I think it becomes much more clear when a wireless carrier starts zero-rating their own pay services. It's a private company leveraging its own control over public infrastructure to push people into using the services *they want you to use*. Make FIOS video streaming "free" so you will pay for that service, and then why would you pay for Netflix, Hulu, or whoever else? With those services, the data usage costs money when you use them on your mobile.

    Though it may not be technically/legally an anti-trust violation, this move is ant-competitive at it's core. It violates the "free market forces" that would allow consumers to pay for the best service based on its merits. This is why people in favor of free markets should also favor net neutrality.

    • Zero rating really isn't, by itself, a problem; what's a problem is what you're choosing to zero-rate. People were kinda in an uproar about T-Mobile doing it because they felt they should be - but actually T'Mo was using it entirely legitimately, making an application practical and possible that would otherwise be impossible to deliver without causing massive problems for everyone else.

      (And the funny thing was that T-Mobile was following a precedent that Slashdotters had agreed with in the past, when vir

  • A violation of the principle of net neutrality would be either Fios or Verizon nerfing a non-Verizon / non-Fios service. In this case, they are just making it cheaper to consume bandwidth that remains on their backbone. Nerfing Netflix or prioritizing voice packets from another voice provider would be a violation of the net-neutral principles. Which they aren't doing.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      No. both are examples of net-neutrality principle violation. One is just worse than the next. It is not all or none.

      • We will agree to disagree. A carrier making it less expensive to carry traffic that doesn't have to traverse another carrier (ergo it reduces the carriers costs) is just capitalism, which is good. I will stipulate that it makes it _possibly_ _somewhat_ more expensive to consume off-carrier content, but that's only if you are a maniac-streamer. In which case, that's your problem.
  • ... the argument carriers use to charge differently for various data plans is that bandwidth is a shared, finite / scarce resource. By allowing "zero rating" they're ignoring that rational. Therefore, why can't *all* data plans be flat-rate, "unlimited" and/or all data be zero-rated?

    All phone call/text/data plans are scams.

    • All Verizon and AT&T plans are scams. Other operators have tended to be more consistent. T-Mobile, for example, was zero rating all video feeds (from any source) that matched a particular profile they knew wouldn't clog the network. Now that they've rolled out LTE to enough of the country, and as a result have the capacity, they're zero-rating everything, even higher bandwidth video.

      That strikes me as being consistent and reasonable.

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