Originally published: March 24, 2014
Last updated: April 24, 2014 - 10:13pm
Are you an AT&T home Internet customer? If so, AT&T has just made a promise you'll want to take note of. If the Federal Communications Commission lets Internet service providers charge Web companies like Netflix for faster delivery of content to consumers, AT&T will lower its customers' Internet bills.
That's what AT&T said in a filing in the FCC's "Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet" proceeding. Payments from so-called "edge providers" -- companies that deliver video and other services over the Internet -- will help startups compete against more established players and lower the price of consumer Internet service. Instead of making payments from edge providers to ISPs the exception, the FCC should "adopt a safe harbor" for such transactions.
Any nondiscrimination rule "should target only 'commercially unreasonable' actions that threaten Internet openness and the virtuous cycle of innovation and investment," AT&T said. “Allowing individualized dealings between ISPs and edge providers is sound policy for a number of reasons.
By enabling smaller edge providers to negotiate special arrangements for the handling of their traffic, flexible net neutrality rules will empower start-ups to compete more effectively against more entrenched and well-heeled rivals. And by enabling ISPs to recover the costs of network upgrades not just from consumers but also from the edge providers whose applications benefit from such upgrades, flexible rules also will promote deployment of additional broadband infrastructure and improved features. They also will reduce the cost of broadband service for consumers, facilitating greater adoption.”
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