The FCC is chasing after AT&T for purposefully slowing down the data speeds of unlimited data users on its network. The FCC, which argues AT&T misled customers, is attempting to fine AT&T as much as $100 million.
“Consumers deserve to get what they pay for,” FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said Wednesday. “The FCC will not stand by idly while consumers are deceived by misleading marketing materials and insufficient disclosure.” AT&T said it has always been transparent with customers and plans to dispute the fine. Likewise, two FCC commissioners don’t agree with the fine, or think that AT&T stepped out of line.
“This case is really just a regulatory bait and switch,” Commissioner Ajit Pai said, according to the LATimes. “A once approved network management practice is now out of favor and carriers with it a $100 million penalty.”
It is true that wireless carriers could and should be clearer in the language they use in marketing materials, particularly when it comes to what sorts of data speeds you can expect. In most carrier ads, if throttling is mentioned, it’s often in the small print where most folks don’t think to look. We hope the FCC continues to make sure consumers are more aware of those finer details.