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Cell carrier proposal would charge by site, break neutrality

updated 05:55 pm EST, Sun December 19, 2010

Proposal charges varying rates for sites on phones

A joint proposal from contractors Allot Communications and Openet could lead to charging by the online service and a potentially severe violation of net neutrality principles on cellphones and tablets. The newly developed system would let carriers charge different rates depending on the nature of traffic while exempting their own services. Carriers could also throttle or fence off services such as Facebook or YouTube to discourage using them too often.

For videos, the proposal would make video delivery more expensive using outside video services by charging the content provider through "split billing." Content providers would pay their usual bandwidth costs to the Internet provider if a customer trials a movie but declines to see the rest, but the cellular provider would still get a cut of the purchase price if viewers elect to watch the full video.

The approach would effectively let carriers force a reversion to a pre-smartphone model for mobile data, where access to the wider Internet is discouraged while carrier-owned web and media services artificially become the least expensive choices. Net neutrality violations would also come by letting carriers make it difficult or impractical to use services that threaten their established businesses, such as charging a premium for Hulu or iTunes to steer users back to any landline TV services they might have.

As a proposal, the implementation so far isn't known to have been accepted by any carrier and may not take effect. Allot and Openet haven't offered comment.

The concepts nonetheless reflect an increasing desire from carriers to end net neutrality and widen profit margins. France Telecom's CEO has called for site-specific fees not just for the Internet but even to charge phone manufacturers like Apple based on the amount of data a given person uses on a provider such as Orange. US telecoms companies as a whole have been adamant to exempt themselves from having to treat different sites equally. Verizon made a pact with Google to press for very light regulation on cellular that many believe had the concept of site-specific metering in mind.

The FCC is due to vote on net neutrality rules on Tuesday that would impose tougher conditions on wired access but which may satisfy cellular carriers by making no mention of anti-favoritism rules for wireless services. However, agency chairman Julius Genachowski said in explaining the rules that the FCC reserved the right to step in and apply more restrictions if it became clear carriers were abusing the lack of regulations. [via Wired]

by MacNN Staff



  1. Tjp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I am annoyed by all this

    I am buying a data plan from my cell provider. Not a filtered data to make them more money plan. Their cost of data carriage is no dependent on device or destination just on the transmission facilities needed to carry the data. As to device specific charges to manufacturers like Apple. I have to laugh. The carrier can just ban that device from their network as they are identifiable by ESN / IMEI ... The manufacturer has no responsibility to help the carrier support the customers' use of data facilities the carrier provides.

    I think if this conceptual madness spreads beyond talk then the carriers are entering the dangerous area where they will lose their common carrier status and open themselves up for lawsuits if "inappropriate" data is delivered to devices through their now filtered and uber regulated data networks.

    Charge a fair and competitive rate for data. Which for my home is unlimited (business) at 40plus megabits per second (I need to replace the cable modem to take full advantage) for $79 a month. No caps, no filters, just access to the Internet. And I can upload to the net faster than 10 megabits per second.

    Compared to my cell plan I'd run out the $30 a month for "unlimited" by the latest "reasonable use" clause in less than 1/2 a day. So. If you want some growth run more fiber to the cell towers and charge a reasonable rate for data. Don't yank the consumers around and don't blackmail manufacturers or websites. They are the reason yo can overcharge and sell already outrageously priced data plans to consumers.

    We live in a capitalistic society. If you put excessive pressure on consumers then a new market force will be created to put you in your place and competitive devices and services will replace you. And just like Russia riding high on the unexpected profits from oil, when the revenue is lost you'll face economic crisis too.

  1. chas_m




    does everyone understand why Net Neutrality is important, why you should contact your congresscritter, sign EFF petitions and generally scream loudly about this?!

  1. facebook_Jeffrey

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Dec 2010


    What the Frack?

    Are they HIGH? There is no way this c*** is gonna fly. I wanna know where they got the rock they are smoking cause I want some!

  1. facebook_Jeffrey

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Dec 2010


    What the Frack?

    Are they HIGH? There is no way this c*** is gonna fly. I wanna know where they got the rock they are smoking cause I want some!

  1. facebook_Adam

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Dec 2010


    IF it happen on usa we are done on rest of the wor

    pls dont let them take control , how they can take about sush a thing .. its the evry day XBOX LIVE ACOUNT

  1. UmarOMC

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Money runs the world...

    I can only imagine they'll make sure this takes place in one form or another- its started with Comcast suing Netflix.

  1. devospice

    Joined: Dec 1969


    And thus...

    begins the end of the internet's usefulness for anyone but huge mega-corporations.

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I wouldn't be hearing

    any crying if Apple filtered and charged for traffic at certain sites.

    It's only to protect it's 'Premium' content and preserve the 'User Experience' for premium iPhone and iPad users or some other bs like that.

    So why is it wrong for these guy to charge for select traffic? I thought all Apple iPhone and iPad users were rich and could afford all these premium perks? The rest of us poor welfare Android users (who just can't afford iPhones) have to wait like schmucks for the slow, bad experience sites.

    Are you saying Google is right for pushing net neutrality?

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