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Eshoo Statement on AT&T Announcement of Sponsored Data Program

January 7th, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Ranking Member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, issued the following statement:

“The announcement of a sponsored data program by AT&T puts it in the business of picking winners and losers on the Internet, threatening the open Internet, competition and consumer choice. It’s exactly why net neutrality rules came to exist in the first place and why these rules should apply equally to all forms of broadband Internet service.

“AT&T’s sponsored data program allows content creators and app developers to pay for a customer’s wireless data much like a company covers the cost of a long distance call using a 1-800 number. On its face, the ability for consumers to access ‘toll-free’ content seems like long-awaited relief from frustrating data caps. But embedded in programs of this type are serious implications for fairness and competition in the mobile marketplace. And we must ask just how beneficial a program like this is to consumers who could ultimately foot the bill for the added cost of doing business.”

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