AT&T Accused of Violating Net Neutrality by Restricting FaceTime Over Cellular

Earlier this year, AT&T confirmed that it will be restricting FaceTime over cellular access to its Mobile Share data plan subscribers only, a move that has ignited quite the controversy in the technology landscape.

Today, three different firms in the United States escalated the situation by announcing their intent to file a complaint with the FCC over AT&T’s so-called unfair business practices.

Free Press, Public Knowledge, and the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute have informed AT&T that they intend to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission against the wireless carrier for violating network neutrality rules. The complaint will address Ma Bell’s plan to keep certain subscribers from using Apple’s FaceTime video calling on the AT&T cellular network. The move was expected, but the timing on when the FCC responds is unclear.

Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood believes that AT&T is unfairly blocking FaceTime over cellular access unless a customer opts to pay for more expensive data and voice plans that he or she does not necessarily need. Wood adds that this restriction is harmful to all AT&T customers, particularly the deaf, immigrant families and anyone with relatives overseas. AT&T argues that FaceTime is freely accessible over a Wi-Fi network, although that sounds like a poor excuse. Do you think AT&T has the right to restrict FaceTime over cellular to its top-dollar customers only?

[GigaOM]

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