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FTC Sues AT&T Over Throttling Practices

Article Comments  41  

Oct 28, 2014, 12:52 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper
updated Oct 28, 2014, 1:53 PM

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission today filed a lawsuit against AT&T alleging the company has deceived consumers by throttling the speeds of subscribers to its unlimited plan. AT&T has throttled wireless speeds since 2011, but the FTC says it hasn't properly informed customers about the parameters that trigger it. According to the FTC, AT&T has slowed down broadband speeds of 3.5 million subscribers a total of 25 million times. Subscribers to its unlimited plans have filed thousands of complaints, accusing the company of using bait and switch tactics. The FTC found AT&T throttled data speeds of unlimited customers after they used as little as 2GB. Speeds were often reduced by 80 or 90%, making many network-based activities unusable. "AT&T promised its customers 'unlimited' data, and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise," said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. "The issue here is simple: 'unlimited' means unlimited." The agency is charging AT&T with violating the FTC Act for changing the terms of service while customers were still under contract. AT&T no longer offers unlimited plans and instead requires customers to purchase data by the bucket. Most carriers throttle the speeds of those who use the network excessively. "The FTC's allegations are baseless and have nothing to do with the substance of our network management program, said AT&T general counsel Wayne Watts. "It's baffling as to why the FTC would choose to take this action against a company that, like all major wireless providers, manages its network resources to provide the best possible service to all customers, and does it in a way that is fully transparent and consistent with the law and our contracts."

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Brad K

Oct 28, 2014, 2:06 PM

Hope this makes it to court

I'm sick of hearing about the government shaking down businesses with BS lawsuits that end up getting settled out of court. It's time someone just spends the money to fight it out in court rather than just handing it over validating and encouraging the government to do it more. If companies start fighting these and winning it will stop these mafia style shakedowns.
Who should protect us consumers against these giant monopolistic dictators, who extract every pricing and service advantage from us?
...
Zpike

Oct 29, 2014, 10:25 AM

If you're really opposed

to government regulation of AT&T, then you should also be opposed to the government regulations that allowed AT&T to become the customer abusing monstrosity it is today.

But none of the AT&T lackeys on this website can ever be quoted for their hard line stance against how the current carrier oligopoly is ruining the market. You'll never hear them propose that these companies be busted up and the government regulations that prevent real competition from entering the market be removed. Nay, they just want to bellow about how the government should leave the market alone and let these carriers do as they please.

But be warned. These people do NOT hold the opinions of free market thinkers and capitalists. They are akin to animal rights acti...
(continues)
Zpike said:
to government regulation of AT&T, then you should also be opposed to the government regulations that allowed AT&T to become the customer abusing monstrosity it is today.


What regulations are you talking ...
(continues)
...
Who has ever said that they were 'opposed to government regulation of at&t'? No one, that's who.

This is just a ridiculous and over the top strawman argument, on the same level with the people who argue that anybody who didn't vote for Obama is ...
(continues)
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andersoncell

Nov 2, 2014, 11:46 AM

Then dont say unlimited..say 2gb then 10% normal speed

Its not the practice, which all carriers do, but the way you say it and trick people into thinking they are getting a good deal and then you stick it to them for 2 whole years! If ATT doesnt see this as wrong...then they deserve to have their wallets lightened in court until it gets beat into their thick heads.
bluecoyote

Oct 29, 2014, 11:22 AM

Throttling

Hate to say it, but throttling is a complete joke. I can understand slowing down speeds after 5GB, but to the point where literally nothing works is insane.
Mark_S

Oct 29, 2014, 9:49 AM

MVNO's

Best alternative. Smile
Precisely, no one is forced to sign with at&t or any other carrier, even in 'the sticks' there are MVNO alternatives which use the same phones, same network, require no commitment and cost less.. So people need to stop whining.
acdc1a

Oct 28, 2014, 8:30 PM

Another Thing to Consider

Who really pays for these lawsuits?
EXCELLENT POINT! The other question is 'who benefits from these lawsuits?' The answer to the second question is not the same as the answer to the first.
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