AT&T is rejecting the notion that it should be paying the $100 million fine issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over charges that the wireless carrier deceived its customers over its unlimited wireless data plans.
According to AT&T, it never did keep its data throttling practice a secret from its customers. The FCC had fined the wireless carrier because it had apparently slowed down the customers’ unlimited web connections after these users have used up their respective amount of data allowances, and the FCC had found that AT&T had failed to properly inform the subscribers that it was going to throttle their data.
AT&T, of course, disagrees with the results of the FCC’s investigations. In its filing to refuse the $100 million fine, the wireless carrier claims that it actually posted a disclosure online discussing its data throttling policies, and it maintains that it even sent out text message notifications to subscribers of its unlimited wireless data plans.
Moreover, AT&T said that the FCC has no legitimate grounds for issuing the fine based on the 2010 Open Internet Order’s Transparency Rule provision, on the account of the wireless carrier going above and beyond what was expected of it in handling its data throttling practices.
As for the FCC, it maintains that the penalty it levied against AT&T was just, based on a transparency provision in a 2010 net neutrality order that requires wireless carriers to properly alert subscribers about their network management practices. AT&T counters by saying that the FCC’s authority is a result of a misreading of the law, saying that the quote used in the Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) that the FCC filed does not apply to congestion management policies, but the agency altered the quote so that it could punish AT&T for its practices.
The FCC additionally wanted AT&T to provide subscribers of its unlimited data plans with a means to exit their contracts, but the wireless carrier stated that the agency is not authorized to make such a demand.
Apart from requesting the $100 million fine to be decreased to $16,000, AT&T also wants the FCC to cease enforcing other non-monetary penalties that the agency has issued against the carrier. AT&T has also attempted to cast some doubt on the true motives behind the agency’s fine. As stated by the wireless carrier, the FCC appears to be making an effort to coerce settlement.
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