AT&T-Time Warner Deal Could Be a Net Neutrality Nightmare, Senator Wyden Warns
AT&T’s proposed $85 billion buyout of Time Warner could make a mockery of US open Internet protections if the combined company decides to exploit a loophole in federal regulations in order to favor its own content at the expense of rivals. That was the blunt warning issued by Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR) in a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler.
Sen Wyden is particularly concerned that AT&T could use the controversial practice of “zero-rating” to favor Time Warner programming, thereby undermining the FCC’s policy protecting network neutrality. Zero-rating refers to a variety of practices that broadband companies use to exempt certain Internet content and services from data caps, effectively favoring those services by providing consumers with an economic rationale to use them instead of rival offerings. “I am deeply concerned that if AT&T acquires Time Warner's content, the new mega-company will have incentives to prioritize its own content over content created by small business, independent artists or by its rivals,” Sen Wyden wrote.
AT&T-Time Warner Deal Could Be a Net Neutrality Nightmare, Senator Wyden Warns Letter from Sen Wyden to Chairman Wheeler (read the letter)