In the United States our internet access is through congestable networks, and we are now reaching the limits of free-flowing data in many areas, especially on mobile networks. (Other countries feature data plans where you pay more based on usage. Such plans are deeply unpopular in the US, just like congestion pricing!) AT&T has a novel solution to congestion on their mobile data networks, and that is to sell the data usage from apps and services to the companies who develop the apps and services. Here is a bit about how this works from Gizmodo:
Comparing it to the data equivalent of a toll-free 1-800 number, AT&T's network and technology head John Donovan, said that AT&T is working on creating a service that would let developers foot the bill for data usage in its apps. Like if all the data you used in an app would be free to the user and not count against data usage limits.Gizmodo is largely in favor of this arrangement as it will keep costs down for consumers. For a more nefarious take on this arrangement, here is conclusion from a piece from Digitopoly:
There is a lot to unpack here, but Digitopoly's complaint raises lots of the concerns lobbed at congestion pricing, namely equity, fairness, competition, privatization and privacy. Overall, this seems like a second best solution. It would be better to keep the costs of production low and have consumers pay their full marginal costs of usage, whether road or data. And we should price mobile data and then move on to pricing broadbrand!