Zero-rating is a practice that occurs when ISP’s allow consumers to visit certain websites, or use certain apps without impacting their monthly data limits. Companies such as T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon have all been part of a yearlong investigation that has been conducted by the FCC. The FCC noted that AT&T and Verizon’s approaches to zero-rating pose a particular threat to net neutrality because the companies choose to exempt their own services from counting against subscriber’s monthly data limits. AT&T has attempted to defend what it calls its “Sponsored Data service” by stating that it offers the same terms to all businesses that want to participate.Similarly, Comcast has also come under fire by giving its Stream TV service a significant connectivity advantage over other programs. While Comcast grants its service higher connectivity through a dedicated line in its customer’s cable connection, the issue that still worries consumer advocates such as Public knowledge is that allowing ISP’s to treat certain websites, and apps differently will ultimately be harmful to the consumer.
See Brian Fung, The FCC is Dropping its Probe Into Internet Providers Over This Controversial Practice, Wash Post, (Feb. 3, 2017), https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/02/03/the-government-is-dropping-its-probe-into-a-controversial-practice-by-your-internet-provider/?utm_term=.a803c74f6d90