Just over a month ago, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) really stuck it to AT&T, fining the communications giant a whopping $100 million fine for misleading customers with regards to throttling data speeds. After hearing from thousands of disgruntled customers over the past few years that complained about throttling, the FCC decided that it had heard enough.
“Unlimited means unlimited,” said FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc when the record fine was announced. “As today’s action demonstrates, the Commission is committed to holding accountable those broadband providers who fail to be fully transparent about data limits.”
However, AT&T isn’t going to pay the massive fine without putting up a fight. A recently uncovered AT&T filing shows that America’s second largest wireless carrier feels that is has done nothing to harm its customers and that it was completely upfront about data thresholds and throttling policies. AT&T even goes so far to say that the the $100 million fine has no logical basis and that the figures was “plucked out of thin air.” But the filing doesn’t stop there, it feels that the FCC doesn’t even have the authority to levy such such “arbitrary and excessive” sanctions against AT&T and that a fine not exceeding $16,000 sounds more palatable.
Those sound like fighting words to us, but AT&T furthers pleads its case, stating:
Under any lawful mode of analysis, the fact that AT&T complied with the Transparency Rule’s requirements by posting an online disclosure containing the information the Commission required should end this case. AT&T, however, went well beyond the Rule’s requirements and directly notified all users affected by the MBR policy in numerous additional ways.
AT&T first came under fire when it started throttling customers on grandfathered unlimited data plans when they used over 5GB of LTE data (3GB for 3G data). AT&T would throttle data speeds to just 128K speeds for the remainder of the billing cycle for these “data hogs.” AT&T has since updated its throttling policy so that customers are only throttled if they exceed 5GB and are connected to an overloaded cell tower.