AT&T Gets Slapped by FCC, Verizon Scolded by NYC

June 18th, 2015 by · 1 Comment

The telecommunications giants are in the regulatory doghouse this week it seems, with both AT&T and Verizon taking some heat.

AT&T was fined an impressively large sum of $100M for selling 'unlimited' plans and then throttling traffic for people that took them literally. That's big enough to affect the rounding on the company's overall numbers this quarter, if only barely. AT&T is, naturally, disputing the fine, saying it disclosed everything and it was all reasonable profit... I mean traffic management and all that. They don't offer unlimited plans anymore of course.

If all this sounds familiar, you have a good memory.  Check back to last summer's public flap the FCC had with Verizon and you'll see the same themes, albeit without a nine figure fine.  Meanwhile, in a completely unrelated move, Sprint has apparently just decided to stop throttling its largest users to manage its own traffic.  I wonder how T-Mobile's method of selling only so many bytes of LTE and then switching customers over to 3G will fare when their turn comes.

Meanwhile, New York City is calling out Verizon on its failure to take FIOS to all corners of the five boroughs. Verizon places blame on landlords who won't let them into the buildings they need to get into, presumably looking for a better financial arrangement. But on the flip side, Verizon has been cherry-picking its FIOS rollouts for years now. Such promises of future coverage to regulators are almost made to be broken, although usually the gap is bridged by regulators redefining broadband or something.

With the election season already kicking into high gear, I rather doubt we've seen the end of hunting season on large telecommunications carriers and cable MSOs. When John Oliver took net neutrality mainstream a year ago, he proved that the public does care about its bandwidth -- whether it understands where it comes from or not. The politicians didn't fail to notice that, be sure of it.

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Categories: Government Regulations · ILECs, PTTs · Wireless

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  • mhammett says:

    Whomever decided to kick unlimited users from 4G to 3G was obviously not a network engineer. Those heavy users make an already slow network even worse, inciting terrible performance for everyone, including normal 4G users that are on 3G at the moment due to a coverage gap in 4G.

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