Thursday, June 18, 2015
The big news this week is the FCC’s $100 million fine of AT&T for “throttling” its customers, which the Washington Post did a good job covering. Throttling is the practice of limiting subscribers’ download speeds after they reach a certain data threshold. For AT&T subscribers who paid for unlimited data, that meant streaming videos and other high bandwidth content eventually started slowing down. While not exactly the same issue targeted by the FCC’s net neutrality rule, which dictates that service providers can’t slow down the streams of one content provider over another, the FCC’s action on throttling has the same spirit to it: that everyone should be able to access everything at the same speeds, without service providers getting in the way. For its part, AT&T said the practice of throttling is widespread in the industry, and that the FCC knows this. While it’s not a great defense – everybody else is doing it, so why shouldn't we – it does raise the question of whether more throttling fines will come. Read the WaPo article here.