AT&T Fined $100 Million by FCC for Throttling ‘Unlimited’ Data Plans

Tom Wheeler FCC
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is fining AT&T $100 million for misleading customers about its unlimited data plans, the agency announced Wednesday. The telco slowed down unlimited data plans, and didn’t inform consumers about such throttling, according to the FCC. “Unlimited means unlimited,” said the FCC’s enforcement bureau chief Travis LeBlanc. “As today’s action demonstrates, the commission is committed to holding accountable those broadband providers who fail to be fully transparent about data limits.”

AT&T said Wednesday that it is going to “vigorously dispute the FCC’s assertions” and that it has been adequately informing customers about the practice in question.

AT&T introduced a so-called maximum bitrate policy in 2011, effectively slowing down the connections of customers with unlimited data plans after they had surpassed a certain amount of data for any given month. This violated the FCC’s existing net neutrality rules, according to the agency, and made it hard for affected customers to use apps or browse the Web on their phone.

A lot of that usage is these days driven by video viewing: 45% of all mobile data traffic is now video-related, according to data from Ericsson, which estimated in a recent report that video will make up 60% of all mobile data by 2020.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 3

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Just another example of a big corp taking advantage of the little guy.

  2. TM says:

    Thank you Tom Wheeler. AT&T has continued to exploit their dominant position in cellular communications — over-charging customers for service that costs the company pennies to deliver, and providing horrible service in the process.
    Communication systems are a vital component of our country’s infrastructure — like roads and highways.
    These systems need to be run as a regulated utility. The private sector will always over-charge and under-deliver at every opportunity — the economy and our quality of life continues to suffer as a result.

  3. sturg2012 says:

    This is just the cost of doing business for ATT. They will not only recoup but find other ways to garner an edge. What would be an interesting detail is to publish how much they made vs. being fined.

More Digital News from Variety