- Two days after AT&T (T) unveiled its Sponsored Data program, giving developers the option to pay for consumer usage of their mobile apps/services, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler suggests his agency will take a close at whether regulatory action is needed.
- Wheeler: "Let's take a look at what this is, let's take a look at how it operates ... if it interferes with the operation of the internet; that if it develops into an anticompetitive practice ... then that is cause for us cause to intervene."
- A backlash to Sponsored Data hasn't taken long to form. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, who represents a Silicon Valley district, asserts the program puts AT&T "in the business of picking winners and losers on the Internet," and that it shows the need to expand the FCC's net neutrality rules to cover wireless services.
- The tech press has been just as critical, frequently arguing Sponsored Data will put smaller developers that can't afford to pay at a disadvantage to Web giants. Om Malik: "The final price will be paid by none other that the startup ecosystem that has blossomed in the post-iPhone era and has actually lead to the data usage boom that has allowed Ma Bell to keep posting handsome earnings growth over past few years."
FCC to scrutinize AT&T's Sponsored Data program amid growing backlash
Jan 8 2014, 19:16 ET