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AT&T’s Sponsored Data is bad for the internet, the economy, and you

07
Jan
2014

It sounds great for consumers on its face — youll be able to get more stuff without paying for it! — but in reality its a huge blow to the free and vibrant market of the internet economy, and the first step towards a new era of carrier control. Heres just a simple example: right now you can rent Elysium from both Apple and Google for $4.99. In addition to the amount youll pay to rent the movie, streaming that movie over mobile broadband will also obviously count against your data plan, an additional cost that you pay monthly to carriers like ATT. Sponsored Data allows companies to eliminate that extra charge by paying ATT directly, so if Apple wanted to stick it to Google, it could subsidize Elysium rentals and advertise that renting the movie from iTunes wont hit your data cap. Again, that sounds great — as consumers, wed get more for our money — but in reality its a way for ATT to levy taxes on companies who can afford to pay.

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