Public Knowledge Questions AT&T Data Cap Plan

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 customers.

 “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 them. 

 “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.”

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