AT&T caps HBO Max data, blames California


AT&T informed its customers that as of March 25, HBO Max will count toward their data cap. The company says the end of its “Data Free TV” offer is due to California’s (recently upheld) net neutrality laws.

Let’s be clear. AT&T is positioning this announcement as a bad thing for consumers. It’s not. Not at all.

While it’s true that (right now) AT&T customers can watch all the HBO Max they want without affecting their data usage, every other streaming service watched on an AT&T broadband connection counts.

This is exactly what California’s net neutrality law is about. It prevents one ISP (AT&T in this case) from unfairly competing with other streaming services.

Why should HBO Max be data free on AT&T, but not on Verizon? Why should HBO Max be data free on AT&T, but not Netflix or Disney+ or Discovery+? There is way more to this story than I can cover here, but this AT&T press release is, at best, disingenuous.

AT&T is against the letter of (and the spirit of) net neutrality because it prevents them from unfairly competing. Boohoo.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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