The other day we reported that the FCC would be keeping an eye on AT&T’s brand new Sponsored Data program, and rightfully so. After all, for those who are hearing about it for the first time, to be able to sell data to companies to use for advertisement does walk the line of being a very clever idea and also violating net neutrality laws. However AT&T does not believe that their new Sponsored Data program violates any net neutrality laws. Instead the carrier claims that this move will only benefit consumers and that AT&T is not forcing any companies to pay for data if they choose not to.
In a statement made by Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s senior executive VP of Exteral and Legislative Affairs, “AT&T’s sponsored data service is aimed solely at benefiting our customers […] It allows any company who wishes to pay our customers’ costs for accessing that company’s content to do so. This is purely voluntary and non-exclusive. It is an offering by that company, not by AT&T.” However there are those who do not believe it is as simple as that. After all data costs money, which means that on top of advertising their products, companies will have added expenses of sponsoring the data used by customers, which in turn could be passed on down to consumers.
AT&T’s Sponsored Data program was announced not too long ago, and basically what it does is that it allows companies to sponsor a portion of data to consumers. For example if an advertisement requires the user to download a video, the bandwidth used by that download would be paid by the company and would not eat into your data allowance. Like we said this is a clever idea but it also raises the question of net neutrality. Who’s to say that regular data won’t be throttled to make sponsored data feel more efficient, and so on. What do you guys think?