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AT&T Halts Free Data Services After Net Neutrality Ruling (1)

March 17, 2021, 6:58 PM; Updated: March 17, 2021, 7:47 PM

AT&T Inc. will no longer exempt certain TV shows and movies from customers’ monthly data allowance after a federal judge allowed California’s net neutrality law to take effect.

“The new law not only ends our ability to offer California customers such free data services but also similarly impacts our customers in states beyond California,” the company said in a statement.

California’s law bans broadband providers from exempting certain content from counting toward a consumer’s data cap.

AT&T defended the practice, arguing that it “delivered significant benefits and saved consumers money.”

Supporters of the California law argue that AT&T offered the data allowance exemptions to steer customers to video services it owns.

“Since many people are concerned about going over their data caps, this program gives AT&T’s video services an advantage over competing online video services,” Barbara van Schewick, a professor at Stanford Law School, said in a statement.

(Updated with additional reporting.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Jon Reid in Washington at jreid@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at kperine@bloomberglaw.com

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