Nicholas Ballasy, Pajamas Media:
FCC Commissioner Ajit Varadaraj Pai said mobile content such as music that some service providers exempt from data limits could be in violation of the agency’s new Internet conduct standard.
Pai cited T-Mobile’s music freedom program as an example.
“If you are a T-Mobile wireless customer and you have a data cap you might think, ‘well, I have to be careful about how I consume data.’ Well, T-Mobile has a program called music freedom, which exempts certain programs like Spotify and Pandora from those data caps, so if you listen to a bunch of songs when you are walking around that content does not count against your data cap,” Pai said during an Internet regulation discussion hosted by the Federalist Society.
“So, generally speaking, free content seems to be a good thing for most wireless consumers but the agency explicitly said that could be considered a net neutrality violation under the Internet conduct standard. And that simply raises the question, how far will this Internet content standard go? What kinds of business practices that innovative new competitors might want to introduce might be frowned upon by the FCC?” he added.
The agency passed the net neutrality rules in February of this year. Pai said the FCC has established an enforcement advisory opinion process where companies have the opportunity to ask the agency for permission to create new programs.