Free Press Questions AT&T's Mobile Video Gatekeeping

Contact Info: 
Moira Vahey, Free Press, (202) 265-1490 x31

WASHINGTON -- AT&T is allowing Major League Baseball to stream video live to the iPhone on the carrier's 3G network, but is prohibiting other companies like SlingPlayer Mobile from doing the same.

Last month, AT&T admitted to restricting the SlingPlayer Mobile iPhone application from streaming live on its 3G network, claiming the service would cause congestion. But now, the New York Times reports that Major League Baseball's live stream "will play regardless of whether an iPhone is connected to a WiFi network or a 3G network."

This spring, Free Press sent a letter to the FCC asking the agency to confirm that wireless networks must adhere to the Internet Policy Statement, which protects consumers' right to access any online content and services on any device of their choosing.

AT&T has voiced public support for this position. A Washington Post article quoted AT&T's lead lobbyist Jim Cicconi as saying, "The same principals [sic] should apply across the board. As people migrate to the use of wireless devices to access the Internet, they...certainly expect that we treat these services the same way."

Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press, issued the following statement:

"We are troubled that carriers like AT&T are playing gatekeeper to the next generation of wireless Internet applications. No Internet service provider should be allowed to pick winners and losers online.

"AT&T has acknowledged that open Internet principles should apply to wireless and that consumers expect unfettered mobile access. So why is AT&T deciding what online video its iPhone customers can watch and what they can't?

"This is exactly the kind of arbitrary intervention in the open Internet marketplace that consumers should fear in an industry dominated by powerful network owners. We hope to see AT&T reverse course and provide consumers with the same access to any online video service of their choice."

For more information on Free Press' push for wireless freedom, visit http://www.freepress.net/freemyphone

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Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net

People + Policy

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people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good