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Verizon, longtime enemy of net neutrality, may soon exempt its video app from data caps

Zach Epstein
December 24th, 2015 at 8:42 AM
Verizon Net Neutrality Violation

Verizon has spent a tremendous amount of money and other resources over the years lobbying against net neutrality. It should be no surprise then that the carrier will reportedly soon follow the lead of rivals T-Mobile and Comcast, which have recently begun casting the spirit and letter of net neutrality laws aside in launching programs that give preferential treatment to some Web services by allowing them to stream music and videos that do not count against users’ data caps.

T-Mobile does it with “Binge On,” Comcast does it with its own video service “Stream TV,” and now it looks like Verizon will soon do it with its Go90 video app and any other service partners willing to cough up some cash.

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According to a new report from analysts at Barclays that was picked up by Investor’s Business Daily, Verizon Wireless will launch a new premium version of its Go90 video app sometime in the first quarter of 2016. The new setup will allow Verizon subscribers to pay a monthly service fee for unlimited video streaming that does not count against their monthly data caps, the report says.

The Barclays note also suggests that Verizon may allow partner companies to pay the carrier in order to have their content exempt from data caps as well.

For those unclear as to how exactly setups like these are slaps in the face to net neutrality, they give an obvious advantage to exempt services while discouraging customers from considering rival services. For example, why would a Verizon subscriber pay for Hulu or Netflix and gobble up their data plans when they may soon be able to stream Go90 for days on end without it costing them a single kilobyte of data?

As to how Verizon thinks its premium Go90 scheme will avoid FCC scrutiny, the Barclays note covered that aspect of the service as well.

“While the company did recognize net neutrality implications, it seems to have the right pieces in place to avoid any concerns,” Barclays analyst Amir Rozwadowski wrote. “Specifically, management formed a structure in which AOL will be separated from Verizon and act as a customer buying data buckets. In addition, the service will be offered to anyone that wants it, not just Verizon customers.”

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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