att petition

Last week, AT&T announced that it was going to be opening up FaceTime over cellular to all tiered data plans. This is the latest in a string of policy changes made by the carrier to appease the Net Neutrality groups.

But it doesn’t look like the groups were very impressed. In response to AT&T’s decision to continue to exclude the feature from those on grandfathered unlimited data plans, the Free Press has setup a petition site…

As you can see in the image above, the site’s title reads “AT&T: Your World. Blocked.” And it asks “What do YOU think of AT&T?” Here, users can submit their name and email address, and leave the carrier a comment.

The group claims that not only is AT&T “still blocking FaceTime and violating Net Neutrality,” but it also “wants to get rid of any rules that protect our freedom to connect.” And apparently a lot of people agree. At the time of this writing, the page was approaching 10,000 comments.

AT&T was first charged with violating the FCC’s net neutrality rules back in September, when it unveiled its original guidelines regarding FaceTime over cellular. At the time, the feature was restricted to Shared data plans.

Here was AT&T’s response:

“The FCC’s net neutrality rules do not regulate the availability to customers of applications that are preloaded on phones. Indeed, the rules do not require that providers make available any preloaded apps. Rather, they address whether customers are able to download apps that compete with our voice or video telephony services.

AT&T does not restrict customers from downloading any such lawful applications, and there are several video chat apps available in the various appstores serving particular operating systems.”

The carrier sounded pretty confident back then, but given the fact that it has since revised its policy regarding FaceTime multiple times, it would seem that it doesn’t want to involve the Federal Communications Commission.

That’s because the FCC’s not afraid to go after anyone, especially when consumers are crying foul. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how this all plays out. If you’d like to sign the petition, you can find it by clicking here.

  • Hot Spot should be free too

    • Yea, I’m with you in that. That is the mail reason I JB.

    • You guys don’t get it bundled in with your contract tariff?

      • Verizon gives it to you with their Share Everything plans, but you have to pay extra for it in any other scenario in the US

  • I’m sorry, but I think this is the right decision by ATT. First, the only people affected are those on grandfathered unlimited data plans. These people KNEW there would be restrictions when electing to keeping their grandfathered plans.

    If these unlimited users are going to suck bandwidth using facetime at however many MB per second of facetime, it is going to hurt other user’s (the majority of us on tiered or shared plans) experience and net usage.

    Are you willing to trade slowdowns in your data speeds to let these unlimited data people abuse facetime out of some principle? I would suspect that answer would be an overwhelming no and your opinion would change VERY quickly if you saw your data speeds cut by 1/2. You would be petitioning ATT to cut off there unlimited users in equal numbers and louder revolt.

    Same reason hotspot should not be available for free to unlimited users.

    To tiered users, ok to both. There are limits how far you can push the network and suck data before you are cut off, reducing the harm to others. Unlimited data people have no barrier how far they can push the network/tower in their area.

    Remember you can scream carriers should expand coverage or capacity, but there are real limits as to how many users can suck off a tower at one time and how much data can be carried based on the technology. Also, towers are limited by state and local government regulation, so the carrier has little say if a city blocks them where another tower could help.

    • pauleebe

      Strongly disagree. AT&T is using these tactics strictly to move users OFF of unlimited data plans, because data is the only monetizing factor for carriers nowadays. They make no money on Charlie who pays $30 a month for his 10Gb data on an unlimited plan, whereas they could make $100.

      Plus throttling is still in effect for unlimited plan users, so using FaceTime once you pass the 5Gb tier becomes pretty much useless.

      AT&T’s network, while crappy in comparison to Verizon, and even on par with the much cheaper T-Mobile and Sprint in some markets, can easily handle the few additional unlimited data users. It’s not that their network “can’t take the heat”, it’s simply that they want you to pay per GB.

      • Exactly, because of throttling unlimited data users really aren’t using more than 5gb a month anymore, we just pay less for it.

      • Lordthree

        Throttling should be illegal

      • pauleebe

        The FCC has taken action to guard consumers a little more, but certainly not enough.

        I.E. the only way Verizon rolled out LTE so quickly was due to gaining additional spectrum, but with that spectrum grant came restrictions forcing their LTE network’s unlimited data plans to not be throttled.

        Unfortunately most unlimited data plans are extinct … but if AT&T purchases more LTE spectrum (as they need to), maybe something similar would happen.

      • Lordthree

        I’ve managed to keep mine unlimited, and made sure they kept it unlimited when I switched to LTE on AT&T. I haven’t checked my bill yet, but they assure me that I’m still unlimited with iPhone 5

    • S Davis

      R u serious with this reply, I am an unlimited user and I dont abuse the system yet if I go over 2gb of data I’m throttled. I can’t see how anyone could defend AT&T with there GREED!

    • You couldn’t be anymore stupid, could you?? What is the difference in me using 6gb of unlimited data a month vs someone else on a tiered/shared plan using the same?? NOTHING!!! It is about money.

    • You are a jackass plain and simple.

    • In addition, you CLEARLY know nothing about how much data gets used with normal to extended web usage via iPhone browser. As for data used on a FaceTime call, it’s extremely minimal.