FCC Proposes Largest Fine Ever, $100 Million on AT&T for Misleading Customers

FCC Proposes Largest Fine Ever, $100 Million on AT&T for Misleading Customers

On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed to slap a penalty of $100 million on AT&T Mobility for fooling customers who were guaranteed unlimited data plans but were not informed of the possibility of receiving speeds slower than the normal network speeds that AT&T advertised.

The guise of AT&T Mobility has been unveiled, and would cost it heavily as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Wednesday announced that it plans to impose a fine of $100 million on AT&T Mobility for misleading its customers who were misinformed of the underlying tenets of the company’s ‘unlimited’ mobile data plans.

Imposing the largest fine ever, the FCC accuses the carrier of violating the FCC’s 2010 net neutrality rules or the Open Internet Order as the carrier failed to adequately notify its customers that the speeds could be drastically slowed than the normal network speeds that AT&T promises.

The practice of ‘throttling’ is common, where carriers which offer unlimited data plans, reduce speeds after a certain amount of used data but this practice comes with a consumer notice.

FCC informed that under the existing misguiding plan, if customers used more than 5 gigabytes of data for the month, the carrier automatically slowed the data transmission speeds severely.

Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman asserted that the consumers deserve to get what they pay for and so the broadband providers must be upfront and transparent about the services they provide. Wheeler further assured that the FCC will not sit idle while the consumers are deceived by misleading marketing materials and insufficient disclosure.

AT&T defended itself, stating,” We will vigorously dispute the FCC’s assertions. We have been fully transparent with our customers, providing notice in multiple ways and going well beyond the FCC's disclosure requirements”.

The FCC has issued its ‘notice of apparent liability’ to AT&T which now has 30 days to respond, following which the FCC will issue its final resolution.

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