Nattering Net Neutrality Nonsense Over AT&T’s Sponsored Data Offering

Published January 7, 2014

Net neutrality activists’ criticism of AT&T’s new freebie for consumers called Sponsored Data is nonsensical. AT&T’s pricing innovation creates a new freebie for consumers and a new freedom for web providers of Internet content, apps and devices that is fully in keeping with any reasonable notion of a free and open Internet.

AT&T’s Sponsored Data offering is no different from other business freebies offered to consumers to market and competitively differentiate their businesses like: Amazon’s free shipping and free Kindle wireless service; Apple’s free messaging and video conferencing; Google’s free Search, Fiber, Maps, Mobile Operating System, and video conferencing offerings; or Yahoo’s free email. A full list of all free and open Internet consumer freebies would be endless.

AT&T’s Sponsored Data innovation is no different from sponsored ads, website sponsors, content sponsors or any other kind of Internet sponsor.

It is nonsensical for net neutrality activists to not be open to yet another free web service. On what reasonable basis is a consumer freebie from AT&T different than a consumer freebie offered by any other competitor in the Internet ecosystem?

How have net neutrality activists let themselves get so comically twisted up in their own free and open Internet rhetoric that they now find themselves opposing more Internet freedom, choices, and freebies for consumers!

Simply, AT&T’s new Sponsored Data freebie is pro-consumer, pro-competition and pro-innovation. It’s neither discriminatory nor does not block, degrade or impair a consumer’s legal access to the content, applications or devices of their choice.

Net Neutrality activists are the ones opposed here to Internet freedom, “innovation without permission,” and consumer choice — not AT&T.