Net Neutrality rules shouldn’t impact T-Mobile’s Music Freedom offer

tmomusicfreedom

It wasn’t long ago that the FCC finally announced what American consumers nationwide wanted to hear: Internet was being re-classified and net neutrality is coming in. At least, that’s the plan. Once classed as a utility under Title II, internet – both mobile and fixed line – will be open and competitive and big corporations won’t be able to pay ISPs a premium for access to “fast lanes”.  A new law could impact any internet service provider, and naturally, T-Mobile is one of those.

When Music Freedom was launched, many commenters and bloggers saw the offering of free music streaming as being in opposition to the net neutrality principle. By choosing not to count specific internet services against data allowances, many saw that as a way of choosing some services as better than others. So, there was a worry that any passing of this new law would mean no more Music Freedom for T-Mobile customers.

Thankfully, T-Mobile doesn’t think it will be an issue.

In yesterday’s earnings call, T-Mobile’s CEO stated that – as they understand the ruling – it shouldn’t have any impact on Music Freedom at all. “From what we understand, we’re comfortable,” Legere said. “If passed as we understand it, it would have no effect on Music Freedom.” In an interview with WSJ, Mike Sievert – the newly promoted COO – spoke very much along those same lines.

“There is nothing in there that gives us deep concern about our ability to continue executing our strategy,” Mr. Sievert said in an interview Thursday. Still, he said the reclassification isn’t the most desirable approach.

If the music streaming companies were paying T-Mobile to allow them faster speeds and a better connection than other services, that would be another matter entirely.

The FCC will vote on the net neutrality proposal next week, on February 26th, and it’s expected that the bill will pass. But it won’t pass without opposition. You can be sure that the big, controlling internet companies will kick against it fiercely as they see lucrative revenue streams shut off.

T-Mobile’s executives haven’t exactly given their full support to the reclassification. But at the same time, they don’t seem strongly opposed either. Legere has stated more than once that he wants to see an open and fair internet. Just without all the legal restrictions added by the Title II changes.

Source: WSJ

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  • archerian

    “There is nothing in there that gives us deep concern about our ability to continue executing our strategy” – no one except the 5 FCC commissioners have actually seen the full 332 page document. You have to pass it to see what’s in it, don’t you know what already Mike?

    • taxandspend

      Exactly. And why is this document classified?

      • n900mixalot

        Huh? What document is classified?

        • taxandspend

          The 332 page net neutrality document. No one is allowed to see it until after it is passed.

        • archerian

          The FCC Chairman said that’s how ‘regular’ FCC policy decisions are taken… a summary of the full policy is kept for public comments, the full document is kept under wraps. Smells fishy.

  • epicrivas

    They should just work around it by offering a “Music Data” service plan for free to those who qualify for music freedom data under a “regular” data plan.

    • Willie D

      Just an add-on, much like Caller Tunes gives a free ring tune per paid subscription and like Comcast offers XFinity To Go, or Unlimited WiFi with your paid subscription, Music Data will be unlimited and free, with an opt-out plan.

      • n900mixalot

        Yeah, an add on that prefers access to music on the Internet over access to, say, an Exchange account … soon enough, everything will be a separate “add-on,” welcome to the cable-package’esque Internet where you get nickel and dimed for every little thing you want to do.

    • archerian

      I catch your drift, it would be a pain keeping track of all the internet connections and picking out and allowing the music streams as even then all music streams would have to be covered. If there is a problem for Music Freedom with Net Neutrality, whatever the solution is it would require equal access to all services.

      • n900mixalot

        Exaaactly. T-Mobile just got a bunch of their users riled up in FAVOR of opposing Net Neutrality by baiting them with music data that doesn’t count against their plan … well, what if someone prefers to stream video instead of music? Too bad, all data (music vs video) is not created equal anymore and T-Mobile is leading the charge to discriminate against different types of data.

        • unfortunately, and possibly, leading the charge in favor of discriminating against organizations that may not have the same beliefs as them.

    • n900mixalot

      Oh, yeah, AWESOME idea, then they’ll be able to offer a video package, and an email package, and a web browsing package! WOOHOO!!! /s^1,000,000…

  • Willie D

    “It wasn’t long ago that the FCC finally announced what American consumers nationwide wanted to here:” – in America, we would say, “It wasn’t long ago that the FCC finally announced what American consumers nationwide wanted to hear:”

    • jonathan3579

      You wrote the same sentence twice.

      • read

        hear

        • samagon

          here

      • archerian

        you didn’t read the same sentence twice :)

        • jonathan3579

          Whoops. I missed that. -_- LOL

      • Zacamandapio
    • samagon

      werewolf!
      there wolf… there castle!

    • Cam Bunton

      Thank you, good sir. ;-)

  • kbiel

    “Thankfully, T-Mobile doesn’t think it will be an issue.” Today.

    If you give these unelected bureaucrats arbitrary power over you, they will find a way to gore your ox. And when they do, what will you do? You can’t vote them out of office. You can’t guarantee that you will win in court against them and it will cost you precious time and money to do so even if you do win. In this enlightened age, you can’t apply tar and feathers, no matter how appropriate it might be.

    In my opinion, this cure is far, far worse than the (speculative) disease.

    • TK – Indy

      You would rather the corporate fat-cats make the rules? We would have no prayer in that circumstance.

      • kbiel

        First, please provide an example of a current situation, even just one, that Net Neutrality or this reclassification will alleviate. Every news story I have read about this has only been able to speculate that the evil, big, bad corporations will, possibly, in the future, start slowing down some competitors content to your house.

        Second, I certainly do have recourse if Comcast or Verizon or some other corporation decides to treat me badly; I cannot refuse to patronize them. Sony learned that lesson the hard way and Lenovo is now getting the same lesson. Now, please tell me how I stop patronizing the FCC?

        • eAbyss

          Please provide an example of a current situation, even just one, that Net Neutrality or it’s reclassification will do harm. Oh and please leave your corporate talking points at the door.

          Okay, so what do you expect the majority of Americans with only one real choice in internet providers to do? Very few people have a choice and that’s one of the reasons why Net Neutrality is so important.

        • kbiel

          Sorry, but it is incumbent upon people who advocate for laws and regulations to explain why taking away our freedom is the correct action. Otherwise, please tell me why you should keep your rights to free speech or arms or to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures and be convincing or I might ask the government to take those things away from you.

          You describe Music Freedom (something I thoroughly enjoy) to a T, but then say that it is not the same thing. Would you care to expand upon that? One service it does not include is Amazon Prime Music, which I subscribe to. Also, many rural, independent radio stations serve their own broadcast stream on the internet, but they are not included either. Why cannot they cry foul that iHeart, owned by a huge corporation, gets special treatment on T-Mobile over their own stream?

          Do you have a citation on “very few people [having] a choice”? As a majority of Americans live in cities and suburbs where there are often many services to choose from, I fail to see where market forces would not work on ISPs as they already have for decades now. I remember when Charter and Comcast (and others) imposed monthly download caps that people often exceeded. I remember when DSL was slow and difficult to get. Has internet service gotten worse since then or better?

          Not long ago, I lived an hour south of Tucson in the middle of the desert with my nearest neighbor in any direction over half a mile away. I had a choice between DSL, cable, a Wimax provider, Hughesnet, and the power company for my ISP. I did not have such a variety of choice for my water, sewage, or trash as all of these utilities I had to provide for myself. I did not have a choice of power providers since as a regulated utility the entry bar for competitors is very high. Yet, I had several choices for something, in the middle of nowhere, for something people now what to call a utility. Strangely, I do not hear of any other utility (except for phone service, once it was somewhat deregulated by the Telecommunications Act of 1996) where people are knocking down doors to bring it to our homes as Google and others are.

        • duscrom

          Yes… In the definition.. Music Freedom IS a violation of Net Neutrality. It is favoring services that T-Mobile as a company prefers over all music services. And is unfair to start-ups. As I customer, I did not use Google Play music, but I stuck with spotify or iTunes.. because they didn’t count against my data. I had to wait till t-mo included it.

        • Adam

          You must be a big fan of ex post facto law.
          Sony is a private entity. Comcast is quay-private at best.

        • kbiel

          What are you talking about? Do you even know? I prefer that we do not regulate something and that somehow makes me a fan of ex post facto laws? Do you even know what an ex post facto law is or why it is specifically prohibited in the constitution?

          Comcast, like Sony, is a publicly traded corporation. Perhaps you believe they are quasi-private because they hold a lot of exclusive franchises to provide cable in many towns and cities. In that case, the cure is to stop having the government give monopolies to companies like Comcast or AT&T. As the last mile continues to diversify, having city or town franchise will become less meaningful any way.

        • Adam

          I meant to reply sooner, TmoNews is low on my priority
          list.

          Here is my problem with waiting until a “situation, even just one, that Net Neutrality or this reclassification will alleviate.” That problem is that if you wait unit after citizens are harmed for the government to protect its citizens, companies will have already built their businesses around a non-neutral network. In this post citizen harm scenario, a company will have to reorganize around a new neutral business plan, being at a disadvantage to competitors that saw the law change coming. The companies that created a non-net neutral business would be punished, simply because they did not predict a change in law.

          The reason local internet cannot be provided by the free
          market is simply a lack to technology. I am certain eventually some technology will be invented that allows local service to be competitive, just like the invention of microwaves allowed long distance to become competitive. But unit that happens, only companies that use government resources (easements, existing infrastructure, public spectrum, …) will be able to provide local service at a reasonable price. In another words, last mile diversification on a national level will not happen anytime soon.

        • kbiel

          By that logic, why allow any free market? I could go to a farmer’s market tomorrow and someone could defraud me there. What laws should we pass to prevent that?

          The reason local internet cannot be provided by the free market is simply a lack to technology.

          I must seriously ask, what color is the sky in your world? Who is providing internet access today? The government? I could be wrong but it sure seems like it’s private entities trying to entice me to buy their DSL over Cable over Hughesnet over Fios over UVerse over Wimax. Are those all government entities? What stone age technology are they using to deliver the paltry trickle of bits you seem to imagine?

        • TechHog

          On the first point: They did it with Netflix, so they’ll obviously do it again. This is a “when,” not an “if.”

          On that second point: Oh, really? Well, you’re a lucky man then. Most Americans only have access to one ISP in their area. Their choice is to patronize them or to have no internet. Considering the world we live in, the choice is obvious for most.

          The internet is a utility now. All this does is make it official.

        • kbiel

          You might want to get your facts straight: http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrydownes/2014/11/25/how-netflix-poisoned-the-net-neutrality-debate/

          And no the internet is not a utility. Is your home unlivable without internet as it would be without power or water? If you believe it is, then I suggest you get outside more often.

      • The sad truth.

        Um..

        Government is in debt because the corporate fat-cats *are* in power and making the rules.

        Open your eyes. Look around. You’ve already been had.

        • TEA

          Government is in DEBT BECAUSE THEY SPEND MORE THAN COMES IN. Nothing to do with your “fat cats”. THEY SPEND OUR MONEY AND THE PRINT MONEY. They ARE the back. If you make 75k a year do you spend $350,000? NO. Get it understood. The government is in debt because they WANT TO BE. It’s a NICE LINE so they can say they have to raise taxes on us. Stop believing these lies

        • TEA

          Back=bank, sorry

  • TMOTECH

    People scream for net neutrality. The government sees an opportunity to regulate and tax. If you think that the government is going to pass net neutrality to benefit the consumer you are fooling yourself. It is just a shiny object to distract you from the real agenda.

    • Joe

      Yes you are correct the government is not trying to help consumers but to make there own pockets full of $$$

      • nycplayboy78

        Yeah because the Government is in the business of making a profit…..SAID NO ONE EVER!!!!!!

        • Joe

          We have a very corrupt government so I think you would be surprised.

        • John Johnson

          The government making a profit as a whole? Certainly not.

          Not while the money funneled into it is being siphoned off even faster by those in power.

          The government may be buried in debt, but the folks in power sure as heck aren’t.

    • TK – Indy

      The FCC director has said time and again that broadband would be exempt from Title II taxes and fees.

    • Adam

      Comcast was the nail that wouldn’t go in with the finish hammer, so out came the sledge.

  • donnybee

    Just so we’re clear- American consumers nationwide don’t unanimously want a reclassification. The FCC are appointed individuals, and it wouldn’t benefit everyone to have them in absolute control.

    This isn’t the entire issue, however. As many consumers don’t understand that data isn’t just data. There are many, many different standards for compression and transmission. In order for these standards to operate as they do today – FaceTime, for instance – there need to be some standards that get prioritized over others as they fall apart if bandwidth is squeezed. Some can’t just degrade, they just won’t work. A network engineer will understand that there will always be more to the net neutrality game than most consumers can imagine.

    So, for the record – not all Americans want a reclassification, and many more Americans don’t even understand how the engine runs, yet they want to be able to call the shots. We need a better net neutrality law that won’t require reclassification and done to ensure data isn’t treated as just data as many would blindly expect.

    • n900mixalot

      Too late BRAH! The average American doesn’t know what he or she wants, or doesn’t want. Look at the obesity and education rates here … GURRRLLL PLEASE speak fo yo’DAMN self.

      • nycplayboy78

        SCREAMS-n-FAINTS!!!! Not GURRRLLL PLEASE!!!! LAWD!!!! :)

      • donnybee

        Do you know much else about the internet and the protocols used? Perhaps HTML and JavaScript are all you have heard in your days. Think about the underlying protocols that you don’t know about that could be affected by trying to get rid of specialized services like true neutrality.

        FaceTime, like all conversational video systems, uses RTP, which layered on top of UDP. Unlike TCP, RTP is an unacknowledged protocol, which means it doesn’t degrade gracefully in the face of congestion, like TCP. If packets get dropped, the video or audio breaks up. So even light congestion can degrade video and audio quality to the point of unusability.

        The way you typically solve this problem is to dedicate some chunk of your routing fabric to to RTP, sometimes by pakcet inspection and sometimes by marking the RTP packet with DSCP. But either way, this then becomes a “specialized service”. If you get really serious about outlawing these, conversational video and VoIP pretty much stop working as internet applications.

        So, excuse me, but you’re the one viewing this as a game. You just gotta beat the carriers.. No matter the cost. Great thinking, Sherlock.

        • duscrom

          Thank you. I work for a VoIP company in support, and we deal with these issues on the personal network basis. We have customers want to have steady HQ streams on any networks. But you put 5 VoIP phones on a 5mb connection with 5 PCs, you need QoS to give that VoIP traffic priority. Cause that big email you are getting, even if only for 5 seconds, can saturate your connection and break the VoIP call.

    • TK – Indy

      If they can’t swim in the pipe and play nice with the other fish, they should be left flopping on the beach.

    • eAbyss

      Americans don’t unanimously want vaccinations either but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good for you.

      Most Americans are stupid and don’t pay enough attention to current events or what’s happening in our government to know what is and isn’t good for them.

      • donnybee

        Exactly my point. Ignorance isn’t bliss, especially when we’re talking about something as integral to our absorption of information as the internet.

        Fact is, Title II isn’t needed. And those who think that it is are exactly who you described – “stupid and don’t pay enough attention to current events…to know what is and isn’t good for them.”

        There isn’t only one way to skin this animal.

        • Wrong. Title II is definitely a must. Either that, or a complete rewrite of all laws dealing with the internet, including the full repeal of DMCA. We know the latter isn’t happening.

        • duscrom

          Actually… The complete rewrite is what we need. Title II is not good. It’s needed in a very narrow minded field where the Big guys are the only ones running the internet. It’s bad for them in many ways.. It’s WORSE for smaller internet providers. Just because a Highway can handle a fleet of 18 wheelers, doesn’t mean a single lane dirt road can as well.

        • As I mentioned, a complete rewrite of laws about the internet isn’t gonna happen. Too many in Congress and on Wall Street benefit from the current laws.

        • Aaron Davis

          What part of Title II requires small ISPs to suddenly spend more?

          It’s not like Title II is going to suddenly cause a massive increase in data usage. The only way that could happen is if the network was already running at full capacity, and throttling netflix was the only way to keep the network from collapsing entirely.
          If that is the case, then it’s the ISP’s fault for plugging it’s ears and closing it’s eyes and hoping the future would just go away.

    • TechHog

      Without reclassification, the FCC and the government are powerless to do anything at all. (Also, Title II is far from being in absolute control.) The choices are Title II, or maintain the status quo. The FCC has made attempts to do something about the problems in the past, but all attempts have failed due to not having the power to do anything except put out guidelines and hope that the ISPs follow them. This was the last resort and is the only option left other than MAYBE congress forcing their hand by taking away all tax breaks and calling for them to pay back the money that was meant to be spent on fiber upgrades. Even then, that might not hold up in court.

      So many people say that some other action should be taken, yet not one of you has an actual suggestion.

      • donnybee

        Reclassification isn’t needed. So many people think if we don’t reclassify, we’re stuck with the status quo, but that’s a very amature way to view this, and is really the point many lawmakers want to make.

        As it stands with a reclassification, the government would gain a much desired stream for tax revenue. Extra taxes can never be a bad thing though, right? Not only does it grant more tax collection, it grants more regulation and determination by the FCC than ever should be allowed on the Internet. The same FCC that’s been appointed, not elected, by our administration. The same FCC that’s flip-flopped on net neutrality many times in the past.

        You say we need reclassification, but many other ideas and suggestions have developed that would not need it, and a little digging would unearth a recent proposal in congress to do just that. It would allow most of net neutrality, including caps and fast-lanes (which are always at the center of the proponent argument for NN), but it would still protect the many different types of compression and transmission standards that can’t all be treated equally. It would do all this without the need to hand over all the power of internet regulation to a pile of appointed individuals.

        Things can be different but people refuse to see that. Title II isn’t needed for proper change.

        • TechHog

          Fair enough. Republican congressmen are in the pockets of the ISPs though, so I doubt that such a proposal could pass.

        • Reclassification is not about government revenue. It’s about treating all viewpoints the same. If the government wanted revenue, the Dems would have abolished all tax cut handouts when they had the majority in Congress six years ago.

          Sorry, but reclassification is a MUST. It has to happen.

      • And of course, you know that Congress has no desire to take away the corporate handouts. So, that leaves only one option. Reclassification.

  • AB87

    No one wins with this.

    1: Government adds a 2.99 tax on every cell phone and ISP plan to pay for enforcement of net neutrality.

    2: Now that its a utility everyone is entitled to it even those with no jobs. New 4.95 tax on the bill to pay for “Obama-Internet” to go along with the “Obama-Phone” tax you are already paying.

    End Result: The ISP’s have to upgrade their networks because new Netflix companies pop up knowing they don’t have to pay any of the costs of delivering their product (Does Amazon get to ship their packages free?) so now the ISP’s now charge customers based on usage no more unlimited from your Cable or DSL provider.

    Be careful what you ask the government to do…

    • TechHog

      … Or the ISPs could use the money that the government gave them years ago for network upgrades but they decided to hoard instead. Do some actual research instead of reading an ISP propaganda site and then pulling random stuff out of your ass.

    • tehboogieman

      What kind of reality altering substances are you taking?

      • Christopher Olson

        Yea just go into nearly every elderly person’s home and take a look at their dsl bill…

        • dtam

          they get a reduced rate, not the same as them getting it for free.

      • Stone Cold

        The phone now dubbed the Obama phone is a phone line set up with low income and normally get 200 minutes a month. Started out years ago as a landlines. So out of work people had the ability to make calls and have a line for companies contact them. Was made a cell phone program under President Bush or President Obama.

    • Charmed79

      LOL dude it is not an Obama phone, do some research, those free government phones were around long before Obama came in to office, you think if you are going to bad mouth someone, you would at least look up the info!

  • Cruise Guy

    So do we want Net Neutrality or not? After reading most of
    your sparring posts, the water becomes that much murkier to the common layman
    like myself that isn’t versed on this subject.
    How about if I give a few live examples, and then someone please offer
    up the solution.

    Much like airlines, the cost of flights surge on Friday
    evening and Sunday evening because everyone wants to fly at the exact same
    time. However, nobody wants to fly at 5am on Wednesday creating a low price
    point. Networks like airline flights can’t always be balanced to offer the
    perfect load 100% of the time.

    It is 9pm in downtown Los Angles. Two huge concerts are going on with 55,000
    young tweens loading Instagram and every other piece of data dragging all of
    the networks to a grinding halt. Lets
    just say that the networks are generally quick and nimble 99% of the time, but
    they just can’t handle these freak moments.

    Now, at the same time, an ambulance (this is fiction and
    probably doesn’t exist but still goes to my point) EMT is trying to upload
    crucial data on his computer /data device, (or any other crucial company/
    application) and it just spins and spins and spins. He can’t access the lifesaving data. On the same block, an officer needs immediate
    information on his wireless laptop and it just spins and spins and spins
    because of the sudden influx of 55,000 tweens in the downtown LA area.

    So, some may say, well the ISPS (Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile,
    at&t ) etc. need to improve their networks.
    Yea, possibly so. But in the mean time, how do we guarantee that some of
    these crucial services work when everyone has suddenly started downloading /
    uploading gobs of other data? Are we
    playing God by making someone’s data more important than someone else’s? (which
    they are doing now) Or is it necessary for certain services? How do we allow certain life saving critical
    services, functions, and the sort from failing when there is a brief network
    overload from other high data services? Do the new Net Neutrality laws help or
    hurt? If we go down with the new Net Neutrality regulations, how do certain
    services that can’t slow down if they are absolutely critical? I am looking for the “How this can be done”
    and not the “this will never happen” answer.

    • duscrom

      Honestly, I don’t even know anymore. I think we don’t want Net Neutrality, as much as we want to remove the power from the heavy hitters. In a world where the entire internet is run by Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, AT&T and other BIG companies.. We do. We want them to stop ripping us off. But…. That’s not the whole world. I keep hearing about the small ISPs that are pretty fucked.

      There are some other grey areas… that.. I really think this needs to get struck down and re-examined. No, All Data is NOT equal. But we can’t have our Monopolies bulling large online media companies for their own interests. If a Comcast who has the money and Bandwidth to spare Caps Netflix streams. Yeah.. that’s bad. But if a regional ISP that may not have as much bandwidth to spare caps Netflix so that 10 homes streaming HD doesn’t kill the ability for the 100 other homes on their network’s connection, that’s needed. Under this Title II classification, Comcast and Regional ISP are “equal”.

      • TechHog

        Load balancing and caching systems aren’t against net neutrality. Besides that, Netflix offers ISPs ways to reduce reduce their bandwidth usage (which Comcast refused to use btw). Those regional ISPs have an option to deal with Netflix, and many of them took it. Also, the FCC can pick and choose when and who to impose Title II regulations on if they have the power. They don’t have to impose the same regulations on carriers of all sizes if they don’t want to.

    • TechHog

      The idea behind net neutrality is that no traffic is arbitrarily throttled or sped up. Load balancing is fine as long it’s balanced fairly and doesn’t discriminate.

    • Christopher Olson

      That’s a good theory and viewpoint but still not fair practice, during huge sport events in Europe, like fifa, there’s a huge power surge during halftime because everyone fires up their electric kettles at the same time (this is true not a poke at Europeans). The utility companies anticipate these surges and have to crank up the supply to compensate for thIs surge, why shouldn’t the internet be any dIfferent?

  • Let’s get to know how we got here.

    Eight years ago, when smartphones, tablets and phablets were not even thought of, Verizon (and AT&T) blocked SMS (text) messages from Planned Parenthood and other women’s rights groups from being received by those who subscribed to those two companies. It took national media coverage after almost two months for both to finally back down.

    That was the first shot that called for Net Neutrality.

    Verizon did the same thing a few years back by blocking access to Planned Parenthood’s web page both on their ISP internet service and on their phones just when touchscreen phones and smartphones were introduced to the States. It took threats from several State attorney generals in Northeastern and Far West states to threaten a lawsuit to get them to stop.

    So, if phone companies like Verizon have twice censored political viewpoints that they opposed, what makes you think that they WON’T do it right now?

    That alone is the primary reason why Title II reclassification is a must, if for no other reason at all. Companies should not be allowed under any circumstances to censor web pages simply because of the views of a non-profit organization.

    Anyone who opposes Net Neutrality is in favor of sites being able to censor web pages that don’t jive with the company’s political views.

    • archerian

      True story, it was NARAL Pro-Choice that got blocked, not Planned Parenthood though.

    • maximus1901

      And since then how many times since has that happened?

      • Enough times to warrant the Net Neutrality requirement. Even if it happens once, that is too many.