AT&T Nailed With FCC Net Neutrality Complaint for FaceTime Data Ban
September 18, 2012 2:13 PM
comment(s) - last by
Advocacies take their case to federal regulators arguing that AT&T is violating current Congressional-empowered mandates
AT&T, Inc. (
) created a mighty brouhaha when it
cut off 3G/4G FaceTime use
for Apple, Inc. (
) iPhone owners on older contracts, including its grandfathered unlimited plans. AT&T was
the only major carrier to do so
Rumor had it that the policy
might be in violation
U.S. Federal Communications Commission
Open Internet mandate
, which blocks mobile carriers from denying new mobile applications access to their networks. Indeed, that complaint has come courtesy of an advocacy trio --
, and the
New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute
Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood remarked in
a press release
, "AT&T’s decision to block FaceTime unless a customer pays for voice and text minutes she doesn’t need is a clear violation of the FCC’s Open Internet rules. It’s particularly outrageous that AT&T is requiring this for iPad users, given that this device isn’t even capable of making voice calls. AT&T's actions are incredibly harmful to all of its customers, including the deaf, immigrant families and others with relatives overseas, who depend on mobile video apps to communicate with friends and family."
While net-neutrality remains a contentious mandate --
particularly among Republicans
who argue that the FCC's regulation hurts the free market -- it does appear that AT&T violated the current rules, passed back in 2010.
AT&T's FaceTime ban has been challenged in a federal complaint. [Image Source: Apple]
Public Knowledge Senior Staff Attorney John Bergmayer comments, "By blocking FaceTime, AT&T is harming its users and holding back mobile innovation. What’s more, its behavior is illegal. When the FCC adopted its Open Internet rules, it guaranteed that mobile users would be protected from such behavior. Public Knowledge intends to follow the process the FCC established to make sure AT&T follows the law."
The filing puts AT&T in a bind, as it may eventually be forced to cave in a precedent-setting reversal.
AT&T, of course, is expected to give a response in the next few days, but there's little it can do at this point to avoid the growing storm of negative publicity.
Public Knowledge [PR]
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
9/19/2012 10:29:15 AM
Sorry. My tax dollars went to work helping AT&T build that network. The "free market" response is ridiculous. Net neutrality rules don't regulate the internet, they deregulate it. They stop monopolistic anti-consumer companies such as AT&T from regulating the internet that the CITIZENS helped build. AT&T doesn't own the lines, they have the privilege of using them.
If AT&T would like to control the flow of information and treat the internet like a television service they can go ahead and start building their own lines or satellite service with their own capital. Until such a time AT&T can blow it out their ass.
9/21/2012 4:35:54 AM
O god sounds like the obama force is strong inside you. You didnt build that if your successful. If there is a road in front of you big government did it. NO NO NO NO, bullshit.
now on American telegraph and telephone i have to agree that yes goverment did build alot for Bell and also made Bell a monoply which seems to have come back under Bells long Distance provider called american telegraph and telephone At&t. time to break them up again. Big goverment is bad kids. But even a conservative can see that some stuff need regulations to stop abuse.
9/21/2012 4:40:13 AM
on a second note , att owns alot of the infrastructure it uses. Government didnt build it all. So YOUR tax money <that is if you are a positive tax payer> doesnt own the network.
"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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