Public Knowledge Questions AT&T Data Cap Plan

February 27, 2012 , ,

The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that
AT&T plans the equivalent of an 800 number for wireless app developers and
content providers.  Under the plan, app
developers or content providers, not customers, would pay for the data used and
the data would not apply to a customer’s data cap.

The story is here.

The following is attributed to Harold Feld, legal
director of Public Knowledge:

 “This new plan is unfortunate because it
shows how fraudulent the AT&T data cap is, and calls into question the
whole rationale of the data caps.  Apparently it has nothing to do with
network management.  It’s a tool to get more revenue from developers and

 “The plan creates two new groups of
customers and app developers — those who pay AT&T extra for the privilege
of being exempt from the cap and those who don’t.  The recent Validas
study has already shown that data caps on unlimited users are essentially
worthless, yet AT&T keeps imposing them and lowering them down to 2 GB.

“We are disappointed that the FCC has ignored the two requests we have made for
the agency to investigate the need for both wireless and landline broadband
caps.  There is still no rationale for why they are needed, what the
network costs are, how they are imposed and how many customers are subject to

 “This is exactly the type of market
manipulation we hoped the FCC’s Open Internet rules would prevent.  If the Commission does not believe it has the
authority under those rules to investigate this practice, it should do so under
its general authority over wireless services.”