“The Federal Trade Commission cannot prevent AT&T from throttling unlimited data customers because of AT&T’s status as a common carrier, the company claimed in a motion to dismiss an FTC lawsuit this week,” Jon Brodkin reports for Ars Technica.
“Mobile voice is a common carrier service—similar to the utility status of the traditional wireline telephone network—placing it under the Federal Communications Commission’s jurisdiction. The FTC’s October 2014 lawsuit against AT&T applied to mobile broadband, which is not a common carrier service. However, AT&T claims that mobile voice’s common carrier status prevents the FTC from taking action against the cellular data portion of its business,” Brodkin reports. “The FTC complained about AT&T’s practice of slowing the data speeds of unlimited customers after they use a certain amount of data each month. AT&T is still throttling unlimited data users with LTE devices after they exceed 5GB each month. These customers see their speeds dramatically reduced even when AT&T’s network is not congested. Later this year, AT&T claims it will stop throttling these customers except in cases when cell towers are congested. AT&T already applies this less strict policy to non-LTE devices.”
“AT&T could end up winning its argument, but not in a manner the company would like,” Brodkin reports. “As reported yesterday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler signaled that he will propose reclassifying Internet service providers as common carriers in order to enforce net neutrality rules. That status could be applied both to fixed and mobile broadband. AT&T and other large ISPs have urged the FCC not to do this.”
Read more in the full article here.