Federal Communications Commission Proposes New Open Internet Rules TimeDotCom

Last week, AT&T’s head of global public policy, Jim Cicconi, wrote a blog post detailing AT&T’s dislike for so-called internet fast lanes:

“There is no paid prioritization like Free Press identified on the Internet today,” Cicconi says. “No one has any plan or intent to introduce such paid prioritization practices. ISPs have all posted policies that prohibit them. And the FCC can act against anyone who might nonetheless try to do that. In short, the Internet today is totally safe from fast lanes and slow lanes.” – AT&T Public Policy Blog

Yet, back in 2012, AT&T blocked Apple’s Facetime over cellular connections unless users signed up for one of their shared data plans. In May of 2013, AT&T blocked Google Hangouts over cellular connections barring a shared data plan. The same goes for Skype.

facetime-enable-100014029-orig MacWorld

AT&T wanted to force grandfathered unlimited users on to their metered plans. That’s it.

After blocking the applications, AT&T tried on multiple occasions to make the argument that they were simply trying to help their own network with absolutely zero facts to support such an assertion. AT&T also tried to blame handset makers and developers but then moved off that argument as well since it was clear that nobody really believed them.

When AT&T was trying to merge with T-Mobile, they told the FCC that they allow all video chat apps that are not “pre-loaded.” AT&T did not explain why it mattered or even the fact that Google Hangouts was not “pre-loaded” on all AT&T phones since some people had to go to Google’s Play Store to download the application.

Free Press has responded to Cicconi with a great point about his assertion that AT&T and others are not thinking of so-called “fast lanes”:

Not satisfied with butchering both the history and the present state of affairs, Cicconi next wanders off into false predictions about the future. AT&T suggests that no ISP has any intention of introducing such Internet tolls and fast lanes. But Verizon’s lawyers in the D.C. Circuit case made it crystal clear that the company would explore such arrangements if the rules went away. And just last month we heard Comcast VP David Cohen proclaim that whatever a fast lane is, Comcast is allowed to offer it. – FreePress.net

As FreePress.net summarizes:

  • There are no such things as pay-for-play deals today, except when there are.
  • AT&T can’t even offer such deals under the FCC’s rules, except when it can.
  • The FCC has all the power it needs to block these kinds of practices, except that it doesn’t.

Did I mention that AT&T is the company pushing “Sponsored Data” plans which help create a second revenue stream for the same high-priced, low-quality product?

att-sponsored-data iDownloadBlog

AT&T says that they would lower prices if Net Neutrality rules were rejected. Can we have that in writing?