FCC fines AT&T $100 million

Jun 17, 2015 10:30 pm
The Federal Communications Commission June 17 levied its largest fine ever, charging AT&T Mobility LLC $100 million for offering consumers "unlimited" data, but then slowing their Internet speeds. The FCC said AT&T misled consumers into buying the so-called unlimited plans, but which had slowed-down data. "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," the company said in a statement. "We have been fully transparent with our customers, providing notice in multiple ways and going well beyond the FCC's disclosure requirements." The FCC disagreed, saying millions of customers saw their Internet service slow to the equivalent of dial-up speeds for up to 12 days a month. “Broadband providers must be upfront and transparent about the services they provide," FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement. "The FCC will not stand idly by while consumers are deceived by misleading marketing materials and insufficient disclosure.” Republican FCC commissioner Ajit Pai called the decision "Kafkaesque" in his dissent. "This case is really just a regulatory bait and switch. The flexibility the agency promised is being replaced by previously unknown and arbitrarily selected obligations," Pai wrote in his dissent. "A once-approved network management practice is now out of favor and carries with it a $100 million penalty."