AT&T’s recent announcement that they would be restricting access to Apple’s FaceTime service over their cellular network to their new shared data plans made a lot of people angrily – and understandably so. It unfairly excludes many current customers from taking advantage, and amounts to nothing better than bullying.
Besides being unfair and extremely anti-consumer, AT&T’s FaceTime over Cellular restrictions might actually be illegal. According to a lawyer for Public Knowledge, AT&T may be violating rules that put them directly in the warpath of the FCC.
The New York Times reports:
John Bergmayer, senior staff lawyer at Public Knowledge, said AT&T was violating the F.C.C.’s Open Internet Rules, which say that mobile providers shall not “block applications that compete with the provider’s voice or video telephony services.”
“There is no technical reason why one data plan should be able to access FaceTime and another not,” Mr. Bergmayer said in a statement.
Apple announced during their WWDC 2012 keynote in June that FaceTime over Cellular would finally become available in iOS 6, and signs began appearing very early that AT&T was likely planning on restricting the feature. AT&T has a bad habit of restricting features to squeeze money out of their customers and/or bend them to their will.
People that are paying for data (especially capped data) should be able to use it any way they want. Period. Anything beyond that is a problem.
Of course, AT&T denies any wrongdoing whatsoever.
Go get ’em, FCC!