Federal officials have revealed that they are suing the cellular giant for the deception of millions of customers.
Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) made technology news when they filed a lawsuit against the second largest American cellular carrier, AT&T, for the alleged deception of millions of their customers through the sale of what was labeled as “unlimited” data plans that were later restricted through the reduction of internet speeds.
When consumers had reached a certain amount of data usage, their internet speeds were “throttled” by slowing down.
According to the filing by the FTC, AT&T started using that practice back in 2011 and brought about a minimum of 25 million separate occasions in which internet speeds were slowed. This technology news reached the point where some customers experienced internet speeds on their mobile devices that were 90 percent slower, which was a rate that was not unlike old fashioned dial up services. Among those that were affected by the slowdowns, the FTC said that they averaged 12 days per month at reduced speeds.
The technology news of the FTC’s lawsuit was the commission’s response to thousands of complaints.
AT&T immediately released criticisms against the lawsuit and suggested that it was getting ready to fight it. This legal action is among the most aggressive that have been taken on under Edith Ramirez, the FTC Chairperson and a former corporate lawyer who has had her position with the commission since last year.
By presenting this legal challenge against one of the cellular giants in the country, Ramirez is also stepping quite near to the Federal Communications Commission’s jurisdiction. It is the FCC that traditionally handles issues that relate to telecommunications. However, that agency is often the target of criticisms of consumer groups, claiming that it is too close with the industry and is unwilling to take action that is adequately aggressive to truly protect the privacy and wallets of consumers.
Ramirez released a technology news statement that said that “AT&T promised its customers ‘unlimited’ data, and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise,” adding that “The issue here is simple: ‘unlimited’ means unlimited.”