AT&T Chicago store (interior 001)

The US Federal Communications Commission announced plans on Wednesday to fine AT&T $100 million for unsuitable throttling practices. The Commission issued a press release on its website this morning proclaiming the decision, charging the carrier with violating the ‘2010 Open Internet Transparency Rule.’

The move comes as the result of an in-depth investigation, where the FCC found that AT&T—the second largest wireless provider in the US—had not adequately informed its customers with unlimited data plans that it would be dramatically slowing down their Internet access once they crossed a particular threshold.

In 2011, AT&T began throttling Internet speeds of unlimited data customers as part of its ‘Maximum Bit Rate’ initiative, after they used a set amount of data within a billing cycle. The capped speeds were far slower than those AT&T advertised for its network, significantly impairing users’ Internet-connected devices.

“Consumers deserve to get what they pay for,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in today’s press release. “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.”

It was reported in May that AT&T had begun to pull back on the throttling of unlimited LTE customers, following a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission seeking refunds for millions of customers. And AT&T isn’t alone here, both the FCC and FTC have criticized all 4 major US carriers over throttling practices.

Source: FCC

Update: AT&T has responded to the FCC’s decision:

“We will vigorously dispute the FCC’s assertions. The FCC has specifically identified this practice as a legitimate and reasonable way to manage network resources for the benefit of all customers, and has known for years that all of the major carriers use it. We have been fully transparent with our customers, providing notice in multiple ways and going well beyond the FCC’s disclosure requirements.”

  • therealjjohnson

    Hopefully they stop throttling. They still got me last month I know that.

    • Mark

      They’re getting me now

    • singhay559

      Not me.

    • Was gonna say, I don’t think they have ever stopped throttling me either. Such scumbags! They lose our business in August!

      • therealjjohnson

        Just got a text this stating “Your data has reached 75% of the 5GB network management threshold. If you exceed 5GB this month, you may experience reduced data speeds at time and in areas that are experiencing network congestion. Wi-Fi helps you avoid reduced speeds.”

      • Minnesota Fats

        They sent that to me yesterday!

  • f96lrs

    they get me every month

  • f96lrs

    “Unlimited means unlimited

    • Chris

      No it doesn’t, unlimited to a carrier means to the point of the maximum total allowed. If you want 24-7 use of your data you need an infinite plan.

    • Bugs Bunnay

      unlimited means unlimited*
      asterisks magnified tiny fine print = “just kidding. we lied. middle finger to you all”.

    • SoylentGreen

      lol tell that to my carrier when I use my “unlimited” texts up.
      I been offered over quadruple my current plan if I give them my bank details lolololol
      What happened to the “multimode3, An Elvis, hexgen and pic12c509a top up?
      (; that was unlimited plus

  • singhay559

    Haha dumb fks. That what they deserve. Now im hitting over 100gb/month on my unlimited lte.

    • Digitalfeind

      I turned my wifi off completely when I heard they stopped throttling last month. I hit 30gb.

      • singhay559

        Me too. They stopped throttling me about 3 months ago

  • Mark

    I guarantee they are gonna do what verizon did and make everyone get rid of unlimited if they want to upgrade work a contract

    • f96lrs

      thats what they r trying to do if u dont use next to upgrade they take ur unlimited

      • Jon20

        And now that they are not subsidizing the iPhone anymore, that pretty much automatically forces people who can’t afford to buy it out right to switch to the NEXT plan and lose their unlimited. BASTARDS!!!

      • That is just a bold face lie (rumor) btw. Not saying it is you lying but I have spoken with 3 different AT&T reps and I can still keep my Unlimited plan if I want to go onto their lame Next plan.

    • Paul Edmund

      I have buying my own phones and not using upgrades so I can keep my unlimited data.

      I drive 3 hours a day and I stream spotify on extreme.

      25 gigs a month.

      I need my UD.

      • SoylentGreen

        If only more ppl had this initiative.

      • Paul Edmund

        What do you mean?

      • To just buy the phone on your own and not deal with the hoops carriers want you to jump through. That is what I think he meant anyway.

    • Digitalfeind

      I will have no problem spending the full amount to NOT change my unlimited plan.

  • GuyBey0ndC00L

    I wish this happen when I was still on AT&T. Now I’m on T-Mobile.

  • Tom

    att is a scam they throttle to 128 kbps on 45 prepaid plan

  • Dante Arellano

    Fuckk attt

  • Bugs Bunnay

    they thought karma wasn’t real.

  • I hope this will be also done here in the Philippines to deceiving telecommunications companies.

  • Mark S

    And AT&T will just pass this on to the consumer. I think the government should outright own and control all telecoms.

    • Todd Chapman

      Name one industry that the government takes over and regulates that turns out well for the consumer?

      • James G

        Healthcare has turned out alright with government intervention. Costs are decreasing and coverage has expanded. But this is a tech blog. Let us not debate such things!

      • Todd Chapman

        I agree we shouldn’t talk about it here (I didn’t start the thread 😉 But one year of obamacare doesn’t give us enough to go off of to say it’s been “alright”

      • 9to5Slavery

        There’s no such thing as Obama care lmao. Ignorant

      • Rowan09

        My insurance premium went up and I have to pay for people who want to do sex changes. I don’t want the government in everything, it’s Anti-American as a matter of fact.

      • SoylentGreen

        I’m glad there’s people here at least know the truth of Obama care, welfare systems don’t work, they are theoretically ok but abused in reality,
        5000 dollar fines for tiny business that can’t afford to play.
        These ppl need to get reading some reality.

      • SoylentGreen

        Obamacare is a max fail, go read drudge report ffs
        That’s a tech comment.

    • SoylentGreen

      Eh? lol

  • James G

    They’ll turn around and pass that cost onto customers. Guaranteed. Happily no longer an att customer.

    • First thing that crossed my mind when I heard this news…

  • “Consumers deserve to get what they paid for”.

    Ok, where is my part of that fine that they have stolen from me? A fine, that benefits no one but the government, doesn’t really help anyone. I have been harassed and throttled by AT&T for over 4 years now. Where is my compensation?

    • Bugs Bunnay

      Jump carriers. There are options. Break yourself from att.