FCC seeks to impose record $100M fine on AT&T for slowdown on 'unlimited' data plans
The Federal Communications Commission announced on Wednesday that it will seek to impose a $100 million fine on telecommunications giant AT&T for misleading consumers about the company’s “unlimited” data plans for mobile devices.
The plans could involve speeds considerably slower than what AT&T advertised, as the company throttled down traffic for heavy users, the FCC says.
AT&T says it will “vigorously dispute the FCC’s assertions,” and has 30 days to respond to the FCC’s allegations as the administrative case proceeds toward a final determination. However, if the fine is actually imposed it would be the largest in the agency’s history, according to the Dallas Morning News and USA Today.
Data-throttling has been “specifically identified” by the FCC “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,” said AT&T in a written statement. “We have been fully transparent with our customers, providing notice in multiple ways and going well beyond the FCC’s disclosure requirements.”
The FCC contends that AT&T provided data at speeds as much as 20 times less than advertised, interfering with customers’ ability to use the Internet, reports the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)
A 2011 press release explains AT&T’s data-provision policy.
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