AT&T recently confirmed that iPhone users will only be able to use FaceTime over cellular on their new Mobile Share plans once iOS 6 is released. Since then many people who are unhappy with this have accused AT&T of violating the FCC’s net neutrality laws. AT&T has released a statement in response to this, defending the decision to enable FaceTime only through Mobile Share Plans.
In a lengthy response, AT&T argues that it is not breaking FCC net neutrality laws because FaceTime is a preloaded app and can be disabled by the carrier if it chooses. Here’s a snippet of what AT&T had to say about the matter:[quote]The FCC’s net neutrality rules do not regulate the availability to customers of applications that are preloaded on phones. Indeed, the rules do not require that providers make available any preloaded apps. Rather, they address whether customers are able to download apps that compete with our voice or video telephony services. AT&T does not restrict customers from downloading any such lawful applications, and there are several video chat apps available in the various app stores serving particular operating systems. (I won’t name any of them for fear that I will be accused by these same groups of discriminating in favor of those apps. But just go to your app store on your device and type “video chat.”) Therefore, there is no net neutrality violation.[/quote]
So in other words, if FaceTime was a downloadable app, AT&T wouldn’t be able to limit its use only through their new and more expensive Mobile Share Plans. You can see AT&T’s full statement on the Public Policy Blog.
What a joke.