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The US has never had strong Net Neutrality rules. Can that change under Biden?

joe biden,

The US has never had strong Net Neutrality. Critics of Net Neutrality have loved talking about how nothing has really changed after Trump appointee Ajit Pai rolled back his predecessor's Open Internet order. But they miss one thing: US's Net Neutrality rules were never designed to change much in the first place. Sure, they made it a bit harder for ISPs to shake down content providers like Netflix for payments by slowing them down. But that's something that stops being a problem as networks get better and traffic increases. But in the United States, it has been normal to have wireless carriers offer certain services to users for free, while charging for internet usage outside this walled garden. What Biden can do to save Net Neutrality, not just old rules Zero rating is a problem, and has been one in the US for a long time. AT&T has a so-called Sponsored Data program, where streaming video companies can subsidise their users' data consumption. In practice, though, only AT&T's own streaming services, like HBO Max, seem to be a part of the program, giving the carrier an unfair edge. Even the friendlier Binge On program by T-Mobile picks and chooses which streaming services get to be on it, and distorts competition. Make no mistake, zero rating is just as bad as slowing down websites; the outcome is the same: that users' internet behaviour is nudged to mainstream choices. But American consumers pay a lot of money for mobile data, and deserve better…

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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