January 29, 2015 — After a bit of tap dancing, Marriott has finally come out and said it will no longer try to prevent its guests from using personal Wi-Fi hotspots – good boy, Marriott! However, the other bad boys, AT&T and Verizon seem to think they can still skirt the rules.
The FCC is investigating whether to fine AT&T Mobility for not providing adequate notification to customers impacted by throttled mobile data speeds. Citing a letter filed by AT&T in a California court, reported that the FCC was investigating AT&T Mobility for the throttling claims tied to a court complaint filed late last year by the Federal Trade Commission. The FCC investigation is said to be looking at whether AT&T violated net neutrality rules.
In a true statement of wisdom, AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel told Bloomberg News “It is the FCC, not the FTC that regulates network management practices.We manage our network resources [in a manner] that is transparent and fully consistent with the FCC’s net neutrality rules.” OK AT&T, if you say so. I guess the FCC has nothing better to do than level false accusations against poor, picked on AT&T.
Briefly, the FTC complaint cited that the mobile operator’s throttling of data speeds for “unlimited” data customers did not include adequate information on the practice. The FTC notes that AT&T Mobility’s move in 2011 to begin throttling data speeds for unlimited data customers once they hit 2 gigabytes of usage per month, “often resulting in speed reductions of 80 percent to 90 percent for affected users.” The FTC claims such practices have impacted at least 3.5 million unique customers more than 25 million times.
Verizon, under pressure from the FCC, and its customers, on the other hand, has quietly reneged on any throttling plans. In a statement a couple of months ago, they will forgo the throttling in favor of “network optimization.” Network optimization? Now why didn’t they think of that in the first place!