(Source: Wrestling World)
Customers are planning to push the network to the brink in wake of threats of fines

AT&T caused an uproar last week when it announced that it was considering fining its customers for "overusing" its "unlimited" service.  The network has been plagued with problems, with poor geographic coverage and high dropped call rates in major cities across the U.S.  Customers, though, have expressed frustration that the carrier is looking to punish them for its own data network shortcomings.

Disgruntled AT&T subscribers are heeding a battle cry from an unusual source: blogger Daniel Lyons, a Newsweek and Forbes magazine writer that goes by the alias "Fake Steve Jobs".  In an in-character post, Lyons called on AT&T's smartphone users to blast the network with requests on December 18 at 12 noon PST (3 p.m. EST), to punish it for its threats of fines. 

He writes, "FWIW, many of you probably know that Woz and I got our start by selling boxes that hacked the old phone system back in the 1970s. I hate these idiots more than you can imagine. The idea of spanking them like this just gives me tingles all over."

His post details about the planned strike:

Subject: Operation Chokehold
On Friday, December 18, at noon Pacific time, we will attempt to overwhelm the AT&T data network and bring it to its knees. The goal is to have every iPhone user (or as many as we can) turn on a data intensive app and run that app for one solid hour. Send the message to AT&T that we are sick of their substandard network and sick of their abusive comments. The idea is we’ll create a digital flash mob. We’re calling it in Operation Chokehold. Join us and speak truth to power!

Since the post, thousands have commented on blogs and the recently created Facebook page for the insurgent operation.

Now an AT&T spokesperson has blasted the operation.  He criticizing the movement writing, "We understand that is primarily a satirical forum, but there is nothing amusing about advocating that customers attempt to deliberately degrade service on a network that provides critical communications services for more than 80 million customers. We know that the vast majority of customers will see this action for what it is: an irresponsible and pointless scheme to draw attention to a blog."

The spokesperson voiced doubts, though, that the protest can do much of anything.  He points out that the Facebook group currently has less than 1,000 fans.

Update: Wed. Dec. 16, 2009 1:32 pm

Our article previously contained a quote from an AT&T spokesperson stating that the planned operation was "totally irresponsible".  Turns out that while the spokesperson indeed wrote that in an email to Cult of Mac, the quote was off the record and not meant for attribution.  The official statement, however, is correct.

AT&T's spokesperson also took issue with the fact that we called its plans with the iPhone a plan to "fine" customers who use too much data.  We've requested more details on a Q&A session on exactly what these plans are, but until then we're sticking to the current wording, which mirrors that widely reported on other sites, such as Engadget and Gizmodo.

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