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FCC accuses AT&T, Verizon of flouting net neutrality 

U.S. telco watchdog concerned with operators' zero-rated data programmes.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has raised concerns that AT&T and Verizon's zero-rated data programmes are in violation of net neutrality rules.

The telco watchdog's wireless bureau chief Jon Wilkins outlined his arguments in separate letters to the telcos last week.

In a letter addressed to Robert Quinn, AT&T's senior EVP of external and legislative affairs, Wilkins said AT&T's Sponsored Data scheme, which lets customers use participating OTT services without eating into their data allowance, "strongly favours AT&T's own video offerings while unreasonably discriminating against unaffiliated edge providers and limiting their ability to offer competing video services to AT&T's broadband subscribers on a level playing field."

Wilkins said the practice harms consumers and OTT innovation.

Meanwhile, his letter to Verizon took issue with FreeBee Data 360, which launched in January and offers OTT companies the opportunity to cover the cost of a consumer accessing their service, app or Website.

"The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau believes that the FreeBee Data 360 offering to edge providers unaffiliated with Verizon, combined with Verizon's current practice of zero-rating its affiliated edge services for Verizon subscribers, has the potential to hinder competition and harm consumers," Wilkins said, in a letter addressed to Kathleen Grillo, Verizon SVP and deputy general counsel.

Verizon has been given until 15 December to respond to Wilkins' letter, " including providing clarification if you believe that we have misunderstood relevant aspects of Verizon's offerings," he said.

Source: Total Telecom