John Legere’s “Un-carrier” moves are numerous (I believe we’re at Un-carrier 36), but the latest in T-Mobile’s 2-year-old marketing plan is indeed interesting. The country’s third-largest mobile provider is allowing unlimited data use for select video-streaming services, including Sling TV, Hulu, and Netflix.
This sounds like a marvelous perk for T-Mobile customers, but one organization might not be so enthused: the Federal Communications Commission.
One of the fiercest debates in the Internet world centers on net neutrality, the concept that everyone should have equal access to bandwidth. The FCC earlier this year released rules that favor net neutrality, and T-Mobile’s plan, at face value, violates the principal by offering its customers unlimited access only to the biggest names in the streaming business.
T-Mobile, for its part, says the plan doesn’t violate net neutrality because it isn’t receiving payment from the partnering streaming service. HBO, for example, isn’t paying T-Mobile for extra access to customers; rather, T-Mobile is granting HBO that privilege because it meets certain technical requirements. If other streaming services meet those requirements, in theory T-Mobile would give them the green light for unlimited streaming.
The FCC rules allow companies to offer “zero rating” services — those that don’t count against data caps — but the agency also says it’ll investigate any that might hamper competition. Stanford University law professor Barbara van Schewick, speaking to The New York Times, argues that T-Mobile’s plan does just that by giving established streamers a leg-up from the onset. “If we look at T-Mobile’s plan as it is now, it will clearly distort the market for video streaming,” she said.
Another element is hindering T-Mobile’s neutrality argument: “Unlimited data” doesn’t exist. There’s only so much bandwidth out there, so if, let’s say, hundreds of streaming services were able to meet T-Mobile’s criteria for unlimited streaming, then the wireless provider surely would have to cancel the service or make the criteria more exclusive — a move that would favor the big players in the industry.
This wasn’t supposed to happen
Snapchat’s valuation was downgraded 25 percent, so tech-bubble panic can go right ahead and commence (to read more about the potential bubble in this area, buy the November issue of 425 Business).
What’s most interesting about Snapchat’s devaluation (an unknown word in Silicon Valley) is that mutual fund Fidelity is the one that did it. Mutual funds are new to the startup game, and they operate under far stricter and more conservative rules than do venture capitalists.
When EB-5 investing goes awry
The Seattle Times has done a good job of tracking the story of Lobsang Dargey, the Bellevue developer who is alleged to have misappropriated up to $50 million of EB-5 investment money. The Securities and Exchange Commission allegations have halted construction of Potala Tower in Seattle.
As the paper reported this week, Dargey’s troubles are adversely affecting his investors. The story follows Li, a Shanghai man who could lose his home if Dargey’s project goes under.
Women veterans are an entrepreneurial bunch
Veterans Day was this week, and perhaps the most interesting business story to come of it was this examination of the growing number of female veteran entrepreneurs. From 2007 to 2012, the Inc. story explains, the number of businesses owned by male veterans dipped 7 percent, and the number of businesses nationwide grew 2 percent. Meanwhile, the number of businesses owned by women with military experience grew nearly 300 percent.
Stats like this are good news for workforce diversity and income equality advocates. As the Aspen Institute think tank points out, a major reason for the gap in net worth among races is lower levels of business ownership among minorities. Veterans sometimes have struggles when returning to civilian life, so veteran-owned companies can be a source of employment and extra income.
Men do “half” the housework
Great news! Surveys say that gender inequality in the home has vanished.
Sobering news: Studies say that’s not the case.
Here’s the thing: Fathers definitely handle more housework than they did in previous decades, but, as we’ve written, women still handle the majority of the housework, especially when children enter the picture. What’s funny is that men say that’s not the case.
As the Times details, men tell surveyors that they handle half of housework, but studies with better evaluation methods clearly say that’s not the case. Take this one, for instance: Ohio State University researchers found that, while a woman was pregnant, mother and father equally split housework. Once baby was born, Mom’s total work jumped 21 hours a week, while Dad’s increased 12.5 hours.
This quote from Jill Yavorsky, an Ohio State sociology doctorate, sums up the current state of work-home balance pretty well: “Most males say they want to have a high-achieving partner. However, that very much changes after a birth of a baby and other highly gendered, ritualized time periods.”