AT&T, Verizon “Zero-Rating” Practices Subject To FCC Scrutiny

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AT&T’s “zero-rating” free data offers are the subject of regulatory scrutiny, and similar questions are now being posed to Verizon Communications for the first time, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

The Federal Communications Commission has raised new concerns about AT&T’s practice of excluding its new DirecTV Now streaming service from data charges and has warned that zero-rating, which makes the data used by certain video services free for wireless customers, could harm competition.

The FCC argues the practice could deter consumers from accessing mobile-video services not affiliated with the carriers, such as those from Netflix (NFLX) or Hulu, which is co-owned by Walt Disney (DIS), Comcast (CMCSA), 21st Century Fox (FOX) and Time Warner (TWC).

Both AT&T and Verizon responded by saying the practice complies with existing rules and benefits consumers, according to the report. The FCC requested both companies respond to its inquiry by Dec. 15.

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