Net Neutrality Organization Accusing AT&T of Violating FCC Rules With FaceTime Data Plan Requirements


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Digital advocacy organization Public Knowledge has accused AT&T of violating FCC rules on net neutrality with its new policy regarding the use of FaceTime over Cellular. AT&T announced late last week that it will only allow users on its new Mobile Share data plans to use the new FaceTime over Cellular service in iOS 6.

A senior staff lawyer for Public Knowledge told the New York Times that it felt AT&T was violating FCC rules that service providers not "block applications that compete with the provider's voice or video telephony services." John Bergmayer, lawyer for the organization, noted that "there is no technical reason why one data plan should be able to access FaceTime and another not."

The same argument could be made for tethering the iPhone to a laptop -- however, it isn't clear what AT&T service Public Knowledge feels FaceTime is competing with. The rule in question is designed to prevent ISP's from blocking things like VoIP apps or Netflix that compete with their own products.

An AT&T spokesperson issued the following statement about the allegations:
FaceTime is available to all of our customers today over Wi-Fi, and we're now expanding its availability even further as an added benefit of our new Mobile Share data plans.
The FCC had no comment about the matter, and iPhone owners will not be affected by the policy until FaceTime over Cellular is enabled in iOS 6 later this year.

Article Link: Net Neutrality Organization Accusing AT&T of Violating FCC Rules With FaceTime Data Plan Requirements


macrumors 603
Jan 20, 2010
Might be switching to Verizon if AT&T really requires a new data plan for FaceTime.


Moderator emeritus
Sep 8, 2010
That statement from AT&T is bunk. FaceTime is available to everyone on WiFi whether they have AT&T or not or no cellular at all. They make it sound as if they're the ones providing WiFi (and not just in AT&T WiFi locations). :mad:


macrumors regular
Dec 1, 2006
Salt Lake City YOOTah
This is AT&T trying to force their customers out who have been grandfathered into the Unlimited Data Protections. Every time I go into the store the Sales person looks at my account and tries to "Upsell" what would be a downgrade, and then reminds me that I won't be able to use all the new features of my phone.

Ugh. if I didn't hate Sprint or Verzion I would move.


macrumors 68020
Apr 17, 2010
AT&T needs all the bad press they can get. I hope they backtrack their new FaceTime policy and admit they were wrong.


macrumors 68000
Jul 20, 2008
No, it isn't the same thing to tethering. You sign the agreement for that device (your phone) and only that device. With facetime it falls in the data is data category. It was fine when they said "Hey, we don't have the bandwidth for this." to now "We could have the bandwidth for this if you pay more." which is wrong. But I do love their argument that "FaceTime is available to all of our customers today over Wi-Fi" like they are making that possible.


macrumors G5
Nov 7, 2007
New Sanfrakota
Even if the FCC shoots them down on FaceTime data plan requirements, at&t will find another way to impose a limit. Much like how the banks made things more expensive for the rest of us once Congress said they can't impose certain fees on deadbeats.

There's no free lunch.


macrumors Core
Apr 1, 2005
Space--The ONLY Frontier
There will come a time when AT&T just says it's worth it to break customers contracts thus allowing them to go to a different carrier in order to preserve their bandwidth.

Rather than spend money on improving bandwidth.

In the end it's all about bandwidth.


macrumors member
Sep 8, 2007
San Francisco
How is removing blocked functionality an "added benefit?"

They aren't adding anything. They are not removing a benefit if you pay them.