Everybody’s got a streaming service. AT&T has DirecTV. Sony has PSVue. And there’s zero-rating or preferential pricing on these services. Apple is launching AppleTV+ free for a year to purchasers of Apple hardware. T-Mobile gives away free Netflix. Verizon is now the exclusive partner for Disney+.
Verizon’s deal gives existing wireless customers and new fiber customers free Disney+ service for a year, and becomes available November 12, 2019.
But there is a real concern. Consumers love these free services, which makes it real easy for ISPs to start charging for them at the end of the year.
Additionally, it’s easy for Verizon to give preferential treatment to the services, whether by just the free giveaway, or prioritizing that services data packets, or deprioritizing competing services’ data. If this sounds like a Net Neutrality argument, that’s because it is.
What’s Net Neutrality? Choosing certain bits and bytes to treat differently than other data. That’s is, really. It doesn’t help that carriers and ISPs lied in support of Ajit Pai’s elimination of Net Neutrality, saying things were net neutrality complaints when they weren’t.
The point is that while it’s great that there’s a ton of competition in video, we are at risk of having services chosen for us in effect. That’s not the great future we hoped for when we cut the cable cord.