AT&T Calls $100 Million FCC Fine “Unprecedented and Indefensible”

by Istvan Fekete on July 31, 2015

The proposed $100 million FCC fine of AT&T for not being transparent enough with its grandfathered unlimited data plan is “unprecedented and indefensible”, AT&T said in a filing with the FCC, reports Fierce Wireless.

As a result, the carrier wants the regulator to withdraw the proposed fine because the decision in the case is arbitrary, excessive, and exceeded its statutory authority, the response reads.

AT&T rebuked the FCC’s decision, saying it shows a “startling” lack of authority or reasoned decision-making and that the $100 million fine would represent a “massive forfeiture” for conduct the regulator has previously endorsed. Just to put the size of the fine into context, AT&T reported a wireless revenue of $18.2 billion just for the past quarter.

The FCC has failed to prove that customers were harmed to an extent commensurate with the size of the fine, the carrier says. By the way, AT&T didn’t wilfully mislead its customers, the letter reads. “It is absurd to suggest that AT&T intended to or actually did mislead the relevant Unlimited Data Plan customers. Those customers were repeatedly advised of AT&T’s congestion management practices, and, for nearly four years, they chose to keep their service,” AT&T said in its filing.

Earlier in June, the FCC accused AT&T of violating the transparency rule of its 2010 Open Internet order on net neutrality. Interestingly, a federal court tossed out the majority of those rules but let the transparency rule stand. It has been in effect since 2011.

AT&T disclosed its throttling policy in 2011 but failed to give detailed information, so the FCC went after the carrier and, after analyzing its policy, proposed a $100 million fine for not complying with the transparency rules.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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