AT&T is about to get hit with a $100 million fine for throttling its customers

By Justin Kahn
Jun 17, 2015
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  1. The Federal Communications Commission has been investigating AT&T’s supposed data throttling of its customers for years, and now its planning to slap the telecom with the single largest fine in FCC history. AT&T is being accused of purposely slowing down the network speed of certain users without properly informing them of how it all works, and now it may have to deal with a $100 million fine because of it.

    Back in 2007, AT&T offered a number of unlimited wireless plans before it decided that wasn’t a good idea and shut the whole thing down 3 years later. Then, the company implemented a max bit rate cap on users that pulled down a set amount of data in a billing cycle, leaving them with speeds much slower than advertised, according to reports. The FCC claims the network would slow down so much that very basic mobile apps could not run properly. Basically, the FCC is saying once users with unlimited plans hit a certain cap, AT&T would just throttle them to the point where they could barely access the network until the billing cycle flipped over.

    AT&T claims that it did disclose the network slow downs, but they were unfortunately set aside by the FCC. On the other side of the coin, the FCC says those disclosures were extremely vague and didn’t properly inform the company’s customers the way they should have.

    As you can imagine, AT&T is upset and says none of this is true:

    We will vigorously dispute the FCC's assertions. 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.

    Permalink to story.

  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,106   +1,376

    Last edited: Jun 17, 2015
    agb81 likes this.
  3. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,964   +355

    While I'm not an expert in tax law, I'm pretty sure that this would not be tax deductible in the USA for federal taxes.
  4. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 699   +164

    100 million dollars is chump change to multi-billion dollar corporation like AT&T.
  5. EClyde

    EClyde TS Maniac Posts: 616   +143

    ATT is the Deathstar
  6. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,295   +663

    No, its not chump change but rather a moderate cost of doing business in the world of crony capitalism. See, AT&T is going to right ahead throttling. The government hasn't told them to stop so this fine is nothing but a payoff from AT&T to let them keep right on violating the terms of their customer's contracts. I can verify that AT&T throttles connections by 90% but they would never admit to doing it (I repeatedly tried to get their reps to say so and got nothing but doubletalk), so the FCC's claims are absolutely true. However, until the government actually forces carriers to stop CHEATING their customers this is nothing but the gangster oligarchy doing what it does best - you scratch my back, etc.
  7. yRaz

    yRaz TS Evangelist Posts: 1,824   +876

    First off, I do not like ATT as a company and I'm happy to see someone sticking it too them

    That said, They made it fairly obvious that they were throttling people after they removed the unlimited plans. It was a big deal and it even made the news on NBC and fox because iPhone users were furious. ATT can't do anything about dumb customers. It's like putting up all kinds of cones and caution tape on job sites. People don't know that wandering onto job sites is dangerous? How much more does the FCC want than ATT saying to their customers that "you have unlimited data, but it slows down after X Gigabytes. And that's the industry standard on "unlimited" plans.

    So I don't really believe ATT deserves to get fined for this, but they deserve to be fine for a lot of other things. This is as close as we're going to get. Too bad $100 million is chump change to the.
  8. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,335   +1,937

    We'd all like to think 100 bar is chump change to a company like AT&T but in actual fact it isn't and that's why they'll be defending themselves vociferously, it's going to knock them back a bit and if they cop too many fines of that magnitude they'll go belly up.
    Let's just hope this kick in the teeth shakes them up a bit and they stop trying to flummox the consumer with a lot of mumbo jumbo that they themselves don't understand.
  9. Unless At&T removes the term "unlimited" data plan then the FCC should have fined Att (like they did) rather than not.

    It was never unlimited to begin with. That would imply you were actually getting all the data you were paying for at the speeds you were paying for the data otherwise it becomes LIMITED. And not just technically limited for all you word twisters. PRACTICALLY limited.
  10. urbanman2004

    urbanman2004 TS Rookie

    For all of the freaking antics and gimmicks they trap their customers into they should've got fined a whole lot more IMO.
  11. sadman3

    sadman3 TS Enthusiast Posts: 126

    The fine is less than a lunch money for a company like AT&T. They have been ripping poeple off with unnecessary charges over time now. I can not use my emails, connect to vpn on my ipad when using their service. yet they bill me for it.

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