There’s been ongoing contreversy over T-Mobile’s Binge On service since day one and this weekend a new study out of Stanford University is claiming that the program does indeed violate the principle of Net Neutrality. They even go as far as to say that it is “likely illegal”.
Barbara van Schewick, the net neutrality expert and law professor who authored the Stanford study said:
T-Mobile’s Binge On is aptly named — it feels good in the short-term but harms consumers in the long run. The program limits user choice, distorts competition, stifles innovation, and harms free speech on the Internet. If more ISPs offer similar programs, these harms will only grow worse.
The paper further details that there may be more to Binge On than T-Mobile has been letting on. She claims that by only supporting specific services, the company is essentially penalizing users of unsupported services. A good example of this is seen in VevoTV and YouTube. While VevoTV is among the list of officially supported services, YouTube is not, meaning that consumers may end up watching content on VevoTV and avoiding YouTube for that specific content.
By doing this T-Mobile is also favoring larger companies and services. Whether that is their intention or not, Binge On makes it harder for smaller services to reach T-Mobile customers since their services are not part of the program and could be overlooked or ignored by those customers.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere has been fighting off claims such as this since they first arose, but the company has yet to explain why Binge On does not violate these rules. What is your stance on the matter? Do you believe T-Mobile is in the wrong here?