AT&T gets slapped with $100 million fine for unlimited data throttling


AT&T seems to have ended up on the FCC’s naughty list. The company has been served with a $100 million fine for misleading unlimited data consumers. Specifically, the company didn’t adequately notify customers that their data would be slowed down to near-unusable speeds if they went over an unspecified threshold.

The FCC says that it’s a violation of 2010’s Open Internet Transparency Rule, a policy that states carriers must be accurate, truthful and upfront about the data services they provide. To be clear, it’s totally within AT&T’s rights to throttle unlimited data, but they also have to tell you that in plain language.

“Consumers deserve to get what they pay for,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. “Broadband providers must be upfront and transparent about the services they provide. The FCC will not stand idly by while consumers are deceived by misleading marketing materials and insufficient disclosure.”

FCC enforcement chief Travis LeBlanc also added: “Unlimited means unlimited. As today’s action demonstrates, the Commission is committed to holding accountable those broadband providers who fail to be fully transparent about data limits.”

So there you have it. AT&T’s probably never going to do away with their throttling policy for unlimited data users (especially since they’re trying to get everyone onto their Mobile Share plans), but at least the FCC is making sure they’re upfront about it.

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