Sunday, October 16, 2016

Kudos to Commissioner Clyburn!

As regular readers know, I don't always -- or even mostly -- agree with FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn's positions. But I respect her good faith in arriving at those positions, and I've always been pleased to have Commissioner Clyburn participate at Free State Foundation conferences to explain and advocate her views.

But the point here is to commend Commissioner Clyburn for her statement this week, speaking before the FCC's Consumer Advisory Committee, that she would refuse to vote to ban or eliminate so-called "sponsored data" plans. She stated that they offer “an affordable way for people to stream and connect with content” and because they could inhibit valuable product differentiation.

According to the report in the October 14 TR Daily, Commissioner Clyburn said she favored the FCC taking "a case-by-case approach” on sponsored-data offerings.  She also said , correctly in my view, that such offerings “could be the way for the next creative content provider that can’t get on the legacy platforms to do so.”

I've expressed views similar to these for years now, perhaps going further than Commissioner Clyburn, in explaining why T-Mobile's, Sprint's, and AT&T's various "zero-rated" or "sponsored data" plans, and others like Facebook's Free Basics program, are popular and, more importantly, pro-consumer. And, as Commissioner Clyburn no doubt appreciates, these plans are especially appealing to low-income persons who otherwise might not be able to get -- or stay -- online.

So, kudos to Commissioner Clyburn for her statement that she would refuse to ban or vote to eliminate pro-consumer sponsored data plans.