On Monday, complaints against AT&T’s FaceTime-over-cellular policies starting filing in. In particular, the Public Knowledge organization sent out a statement saying that the decision to block FaceTime from some of its customers was a violation of the FCC’s Open Internet rules.
That would obviously bring some horrible press to AT&T, so to combat the problem, the carrier has released a statement – and in it, simply said that it isn’t violating any rules:
“AT&T’s plans for FaceTime will not violate either requirement. Our policies regarding FaceTime will be fully transparent to all consumers, and no one has argued to the contrary. There is no transparency issue here.
Nor is there a blocking issue. The FCC’s net neutrality rules do not regulate the availability to customers of applications that are preloaded on phones. Indeed, the rules do not require that providers make available any preloaded apps. Rather, they address whether customers are able to download apps that compete with our voice or video telephony services. AT&T does not restrict customers from downloading any such lawful applications, and there are several video chat apps available in the various app stores serving particular operating systems.”
The complaints have made it fairly clear that AT&T’s decision to block FaceTime access to some users is, indeed, a violation of the FCC’s rules. And honestly, it’s plain to see that AT&T is just trying to grab even more money from its customers with this move.
The FCC hasn’t made an official comment on the matter yet, although it likely won’t respond until this limitation is put into place: AT&T’s Mobile Share plans start tomorrow, along with the limitations on FaceTime.