Would you pay your operator extra to access YouTube?

Everything Everywhere, the parent company of two of the UK’s biggest mobile brands – T-Mobile and Orange, says it is not opposed to the principle of offering mobile broadband tariffs that exclude specific content types, such as online video.

During a meeting earlier today between Everything Everywhere representatives and Which?, the telco mooted the idea of  a broadband market where your internet package dictates what types of content you can access. This, it felt, had the potential to allow more flexible tariff pricing.

Everything Everywhere owns both the T-Mobile and Orange brand.

So, for instance, if you’re not interested in watching online video such as the BBC iPlayer, then you could move to a cheaper tariff that doesn’t let you access video services.

Those who want free access to all content types could pay more for a deal with no restrictions.

Everything Everywhere was careful to stress that it’s not currently considering adopting these kinds of tariffs. But it said it does not want industry regulators to restrict such a strategy in the interest of net neutrality.

However, Which?’s  net neutrality policy expert Rob Reid argues that this idea of content-exclusive tariffs could open a pandora’s box.

‘Allowing ISPs to develop tariffs with restricted access to the web could open the door to discrimination and harm innovation,’ says Reid. ‘How will an ISP decide exactly which web sites and services can’t be used with a ‘bargain’ tariff? How will new and innovative content providers requiring high bandwidth be guaranteed access to the same market as established content providers with agreements in place with ISPs?’

‘As web users, we don’t always know exactly how we’ll want to use the internet when we sign up to a tariff. The right of all users to access all legal sites and services on the web is central to the internet as we know it, as such I oppose the possibility of tariffs being introduced which remove this right under the veneer of offering consumers choice.’

So what do you guys think? Would you like the option to buy a cheaper mobile broadband tariff without access to certain types of content? Or do you prefer to have control over what content you access within the confines of your monthly usage limit?

Let us know in the comments section below.

4 replies

  1. Resticting internet access to certain sites is a slippery slope, and possibly more complex in practice than is feasible. However, there is a genuine issue surrounding data allowance and how much of that is eaten up by bandwidth-hogging activities like video streaming. I know at several people who have bought wireless dongles or smart phone contracts believing their allowance will be more than they’d ever use but ending up with expensive extra costs. Perhaps a better route would be for providers to be more transparent with what terms like “unlimited” really mean and making more prominent advice on how much streaming users will realistically manage on their allowance.

  2. Oh no, Three are harming innovation, what with providing their users unlimited access to Live, Facebook and Skype.

    Someone must stand up for the poor oppressed users: Fortunately Rob Reid, which?’s foremost expert on topics he clearly has no knowledge of is there to help.

  3. I think that it is unfair that tmobile should restrict us from watching YouTube videos on our mobile phones because it’s not like we are downloading the videos I have 12 months phone Internet and thay said I have gone past my fair usage policy it’s daft that thay do this

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