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FTC continues to push throttling charges after AT&T issues denial
As this site wrote about yesterday, the FTC has come down on AT&T for misleading millions of customers by charging them for “unlimited” data plans while reducing their data speeds, in some cases by nearly 90 percent. In the complaint, the FTC notes how long this has been going on and the fact that AT&T has a long history of this type of practice. AT&T has throttled at least 3.5 million unique customers a total of more than 25 million times.
AT&T responded to the FTC complaint by playing stupid and claiming that the FTC allegations were “baseless” and that AT&T has “been completely transparent with customers since the very beginning.”
I say “playing stupid” not to be mean but because most of the charges are indeed facts. Facts that AT&T has admitted on a number of different occasions. First AT&T claimed that data caps were due to congestion. Then they admitted that the data caps had nothing to do with congestion.
Michael Powell told a Minority Media and Telecommunications Association audience that cable’s interest in usage-based pricing was not principally about network congestion, but instead about pricing fairness…Asked by MMTC president David Honig to weigh in on data caps, Powell said that while a lot of people had tried to label the cable industry’s interest in the issue as about congestion management. “That’s wrong,” he said. “Our principal purpose is how to fairly monetize a high fixed cost.” – TechDirt
As GigaOM writes today, FTC Chair Edith Ramirez did not back down when asked about AT&T on a conference call with reporters. In fact, she didn’t rule out additional legal action against AT&T and continued to point out what has been reported for years now.
Ramirez, however, retorted during the call that AT&T had degraded “unlimited” users’ data even at times when its network had plenty of capacity. She also suggested that the news and notices were not enough to protect existing AT&T customers from early termination fees if they wanted to escape the throttling. – GigaOM
Considering AT&T recently settled a case with the FTC on cramming charges to the tune of a $100 million fine, it seems clear based on AT&T’s response that this will go to court.