Verizon Scores Toll-Free Content Patent

Verizon revealed in a patent published Tuesday how it could team up with content providers to distribute free programming through both wireless and wired networks.

Jane Florins
Jane Florins

Former Verizon engineer Michael Buonomo and Jane Florins, Verizon lead user experience / user interface engineer, are named as inventors on the patent. Verizon originally filed the application for the invention, titled, “Data toll subsidy management,” in July 2013.

Abstract: A method includes receiving, from a user device associated with an end user, a request for content provided by a content provider. The method includes determining whether the requested content is to be provided on a data toll network, determining whether the requested content includes data toll free content in response to a determination that the requested content is to be provided on the data toll network, and applying graphic elements indicating data toll free status of data toll free sections of the requested content in response to a determination that the requested content includes data toll free content. The method further includes providing the requested content including the applied graphic elements to the user device, and billing data usage associated with providing the data toll free sections to the end user device to the content provider.

Patent

Related articles:
Free ESPN and NFL Sunday Ticket? How Subsidized Content Could Disrupt
CenturyLink Mulls Subsidized Broadband, Content
Verizon Tweaks Sponsored Data Logo
How Verizon Will Use Targeted Ads and ‘Non-Subscription Access’ to Power OTT Product
Verizon to Market COMP’D Mobile Video and Data

Buonomo
Michael Buonomo

Claims: 

1. A computer-implemented method comprising: receiving, from a user device associated with an end user, a request for content provided by a content provider customer device associated with a content provider; determining whether the requested content is to be provided via a data toll network; providing the requested content via a data flat fee network in response to a determination that the requested content is not to be provided via the data toll network; determining, by a processing device, whether the requested content includes data toll free content associated with the content provider in response to a determination that the requested content is to be provided via the data toll network; applying one or more graphic elements indicating data toll free status of one or more data toll free sections of the requested content in response to a determination that the requested content includes data toll free content, wherein the applied one or more graphic elements and the one or more data toll free sections are concurrently displayed; providing the requested content including the applied one or more graphic elements to the user device, wherein the user device is to display the applied one or more graphic elements to indicate that the one or more data toll free sections of the requested content is data toll free; and billing data usage, associated with providing the data toll free sections to the user device, to the content provider.

2. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein applying the one or more graphic elements indicating data toll free status of the requested content further comprises: identifying a particular content item of a plurality of content items in the requested content concurrently displayed that is data toll free; and applying a graphic element that identifies the particular content item as data toll free.

3. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein applying the one or more graphic elements indicating data toll free status of the requested content further comprises: identifying the requested content as aggregated data toll free content, wherein the aggregated data toll free content includes a plurality of items that are provided data toll free; and applying a graphic element that identifies that access is provided data toll free to each of the plurality of items in the aggregated data toll free content.

4. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein providing the requested content including the applied one or more graphic elements to the user device further comprises: providing a free data alert message that indicates that data usage associated with accessing the one or more data toll free sections is data toll free to the end user.

5. The computer-implemented method of claim 4, further comprising: receiving a request for additional content that is not data toll free; providing an exit message that data usage associated with accessing the additional content is not data toll free to the end user; providing the additional content to the user device; and billing data usage for the additional content to the end user.

6. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, further comprising: registering the content provider; and receiving an identification of data toll free content from a device associated with the content provider.

7. The computer-implemented method of claim 6, wherein registering the content provider further comprises: providing a customer based portal for the content provider to register.

8. The computer-implemented method of claim 6, wherein receiving the identification of data toll free content further comprises: receiving one or more of a uniform resource locator or an application identifier.

9. The computer-implemented method of claim 6, wherein receiving the identification of data toll free content further comprises: receiving an identification of specific classes of items that are to be data toll free to the end user.

10. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, further comprising: receiving a request for an application to be provided in association with the content provider; providing notification that the content is to be billed to the content provider; and providing the content to the user device.

11. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, further comprising: providing a notification that the content provider is providing concurrent data toll free access for content items that are not associated with the content provider.

12. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein determining whether the requested content includes data toll free content further comprises: determining that the requested content is to be partially subsidized; applying a graphic element that identifies the requested content as partially subsidized; charging a portion of a toll associated with the requested content that is partially subsidized to the content provider; and charging a remainder of the toll to a user account associated with the end user.

13. A device, comprising: a memory to store a plurality of instructions; and a processor configured to execute instructions in the memory to: receive, from a user device associated with an end user, a request for content provided by a content provider customer device associated with a content provider; determine whether the requested content is to be provided via a data toll network; provide the requested content via a data flat fee network in response to a determination that the requested content is not to be provided via the data toll network; determine whether the requested content includes data toll free content in response to a determination that the requested content is to be provided via the data toll network; apply at least one graphic element indicating data toll free status of at least one data toll free section of the requested content in response to a determination that the requested content includes data toll free content, wherein the applied at least one graphic element and the at least one data toll free section are concurrently displayed; provide the requested content including the applied at least one graphic element to the user device; and bill data usage, associated with providing the at least one data toll free section to the user device, to the content provider.

14. The device of claim 13, wherein, when applying graphic elements indicating data toll free status of the requested content, the processor is further configured to: apply a graphic element that identifies that aggregation of the requested content as data toll free.

15. The device of claim 13, wherein, when providing the requested content including the applied at least one graphic element to the user device, the processor is further configured to: provide a free data alert message that indicates that data usage associated with accessing the data toll free sections is data toll free to the end user.

16. The device of claim 15, wherein the processor is further configured to: receive a request for additional content that is not data toll free; provide an exit data alert message that user device is no longer receiving data toll free content; and provide the additional content to the user device.

17. The device of claim 16, wherein the exit data alert message is displayed for at least one of a set amount of times or a predetermined period.

18. The device of claim 16, wherein the processor is further configured to: register the content provider; and receive an identification of data toll free content from a device associated with the content provider.

19. A non-transitory, computer-readable medium including instructions to be executed by a processor, the instructions including one or more instructions, when executed by the processor, for causing the processor to: receive, from a user device associated with an end user, a request for an application provided by an application provider customer device associated with an application provider; determine whether the requested application is to be provided via a data toll network; provide the requested content via a data flat fee network in response to a determination that the requested content is not to be provided via the data toll network; determine whether the requested application includes a data toll free application in response to a determination that the requested application is to be provided via the data toll network; prepare at least one graphic element indicating data toll free status of the requested application to be applied to a user interface associated with the user device in response to a determination that the requested application includes a data toll free application; provide the requested application; provide the at least one graphic element indicating data toll free status of the requested application, wherein the at least one graphic element and the requested application are to be concurrently accessed and displayed; and bill data, usage associated with providing the requested application to the user device, to the application provider.

20. The non-transitory, computer-readable medium of claim 19, wherein, when providing notification of the data toll free status of the requested application, the one or more instructions further includes instructions for causing the processor to: provide a free data alert message that indicates that data usage associated with requested application is data toll free to the end user; and display the free data alert message for at least one of a set amount of times or a predetermined period.