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FCC Fines AT&T $100 Million Over Throttling Practices

Article Comments  35  

Jun 17, 2015, 11:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman
updated Jun 17, 2015, 12:52 PM

The FCC today took action against AT&T for misleading consumers about its unlimited mobile data plans and throttling policies. The agency says AT&T willfully and repeatedly violated its Open Internet Transparency Rule, which was put in place in 2010. Under the auspices of that rule, AT&T falsely labeled plans "unlimited" even though they had hidden data caps and then throttled customers who exceeded those caps. The FCC believes AT&T's Maximum Bit Rate policy, enacted in 2011, severely reduced the maximum data speeds of unlimited data plans without notifying its customers that they'd be hit with slower speeds. The FCC said it has received thousands of complaints from consumers since 2011, who claimed to feel misled by AT&T's policies. Consumers also complained about being locked into multi-year contracts for unlimited data plans that weren't actually unlimited. "Consumers deserve to get what they pay for," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. "Broadband providers must be upfront and transparent about the services they provide. The FCC will not stand idly by while consumers are deceived by misleading marketing materials and insufficient disclosure." The FCC is seeking $100 million from AT&T. "We will vigorously dispute the FCC’s assertions," said AT&T. "The FCC has specifically identified this practice as a legitimate and reasonable way to manage network resources for the benefit of all customers, and has known for years that all of the major carriers use it. We have been fully transparent with our customers, providing notice in multiple ways and going well beyond the FCC’s disclosure requirements."

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andrewbearpig

Jun 17, 2015, 12:11 PM

Wow

They have made it plain in their customer service summaries yet the fcc wants to sue for it?
now its clearly states it but for a long time not too many people knew about it
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For being deceived, ATT customers that had unlimited data or currently have it,,,,,,SHOULD GET PIECE OF THE FCC ACTION
...
Technically shouldn't every company that offers unlimited data be sued by the FCC there is not one company that gives truly unlimited data.
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dpichr5013

Jun 17, 2015, 8:51 PM

FCC worthless

Really FCC?! THOUSANDS of COMPLAINTS since 2011 and it takes you almost 5 years,,,,5 YEARS to figure it out. As the governing body GET WITH IT. We're you waiting for a million complaints before they became valid? Check on a few other carriers as well cause there is what's called common practice since there is no apparent enforcement, in many ways!!
All these guys on here are pretending the FCC has failed consumers by acting on their behalf, but you are the ONLY one who understood exactly how the FCC has failed us. They should have acted sooner.
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Nobodey

Jun 18, 2015, 9:48 PM

Except consumers WERE informed.. Here's the proof.

I understand that PhoneScoop has been around a long time. So maybe you might go back into your own archives. If you did, you would have found this article:
https://www.phonescoop.com/articles/article.php?a=8565 »
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Yep, you informed consumers yourselves.
"Starting October 1 (2011), smartphone customers with unlimited data plans may experience reduced speeds once their usage in a billing cycle reaches the level that puts them among the top 5% of heaviest data users. These customers can still use unlimited data and their speeds will be restored with the start of the next billing cycle. Before you are affected, we will provide multiple notices, including a grace period."
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Here is the original press release: http://www.att.com/gen/press-...
(continues)
What I find most amusing is that the fines will go directly to the US Treasury! Consumers are merely a pawn in this game of the US government V AT&T.

What I can't understand is why the lawsuit was filed in the first place? They didn't shut off the...
(continues)
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amarryat

Jun 17, 2015, 12:15 PM
edited

Ka-Ching

How does this fine help the consumer? I'm sure the FCC will find ways to spend that dough. More taxpayer money going to the government is the bottom line here.
The FCC usually posts how they spend the money from such fines somewhere on their website. If you really want to know you could always surf over there and read what they have to say. Why not let the rest of us know what you find out.
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