[JURIST] The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] announced on Wednesday that it plans [press release] to fine AT&T Mobile [corporate website] 100 million dollars for their actions in slowing internet speeds after “unlimited data” users reached a certain limit. The FCC claims that AT&T slowed down internet speeds for unlimited users and failed to notify them that they would receive slower speeds than advertised. AT&T is believed to be in violation of the 2010 Open Internet Transparency Rule [FCC materials] by advertising unlimited policies without information on slowing access after a data limit is reached. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler stated in regards to the fine, “[a]s today’s action demonstrates, the Commission is committed to holding accountable those broadband providers who fail to be fully transparent about data limits.” It is reported [Reuters report] that AT&T will challenge the fine which has now become the largest handed down to any entity by the FCC.
The way Internet Service Providers (ISPs) manage customers’ access speed is an issue the FCC has frequently addressed [JURIST feature] recently. In March, the FCC faced its first lawsuits for so-called “net-neutrality” rules it adopted in February after Wheeler recommended [JURIST reports] that ISPs be regulated like public utilities. Doing so gives the FCC broader authority to regulate them. Previous attempts by the FCC to impose net-neutrality rules had been struck down [JURIST report] by an appeals court because ISPs had not historically been regulated like public utilities.