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T-Mobile says FCC must ‘tread lightly’ with Binge On


Binge On has been the target of its fair share of criticism since launch, with YouTube, the EFF, and a Stanford law professor all taking aim at T-Mobile’s free video streaming program. That’s lead some to wonder what action, if any, the FCC will take in regards to Binge On. That remains to be seen, but T-Mobile is urging the FCC to “tread lightly.”

Speaking at an Open Technology Institute event, Kathleen Ham, T-Mobile’s SVP of Government Affairs, urged the FCC to proceed carefully in its examination of Binge On. That’s because there’s so much experimentation going on in wireless, Ham explained, much of it she says customers are responding to. Ham admitted that T-Mobile must be transparent and ensure the customer has choices, but that it’s smart “to tread lightly in this environment when there is so much going on.”

Ham went on to say that T-Mobile and the FCC have been interacting in recent weeks. The FCC met with T-Mo — as well as AT&T and Comcast — in January to discuss zero-rating services like Binge On, and Ham says that conversations with the FCC are ongoing.

Finally, Ham responded to calls that T-Mobile alter Binge On. She said that customers love the service and that T-Mobile doesn’t really have any desire to make it opt-in rather than opt-out. When asked why Binge On doesn’t exempt all content that uses limited data instead of just video, she suggested that the service will develop and grow. “We may get there,” she said. “I think we rolled this out pretty quickly, and I’m sure it is going to evolve over time. And again, I think our customers are No. 1 at T-Mobile.”

The FCC does appear to be taking its time with its investigation into Binge On. And while critics of the service say that it violates net neutrality, the FCC may not see it that way. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler previously described Binge On as “highly innovative and highly competitive,” and T-Mobile did recently make it easier to toggle the service on and off with a few short codes. Other criticisms of Binge On include the number and type of video services that are included in the free streaming portion. T-Mobile is sure to add more services to the free streaming part of Binge On, though, and it’ll likely use the added interest from video services and its new short codes in defense of Binge On.

Source: The Hill

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