Snippet: AT&T, FaceTime, and Net Neutrality ☇

Shared on August 20, 2012

AT&T’s decision to make FaceTime on iOS 6 a shared-data-plans-only feature benefits nobody other than AT&T trying to get people to move to its new data plans. While AT&T often gets picked on, I think this criticism is much-deserved. If I were to switch our current setup (2 dumbphones, 1 iPhone) to the new plan, it would end up costing over $50 more per month. Brian X. Chen from The New York Times reports:

AT&T said last week that using FaceTime over its network would be a feature for customers of its shared data plans, not customers who have the older unlimited or tiered data plans. Public Knowledge, a nonprofit group that focuses on Internet law, says that by prohibiting its other customers from using the video-calling feature on the network, AT&T is violating net-neutrality rules by blocking a service that potentially competes with its own.

FaceTime over Wi-Fi is not a service of AT&T, yet they try to make it sound like it is. My Macs and iPad disagree:

AT&T says it has done nothing wrong, because FaceTime is still available over Wi-Fi. “FaceTime is available to all of our customers today over Wi-Fi, and we’re now expanding its availability even further as an added benefit of our new Mobile Share data plans,” said Mark Siegel, an AT&T spokesman.

Being able to use FaceTime over a Wi-Fi connection on an iPhone, however, is not related to how the service is used on a cellular network…

Snippets are posts that share a linked item with a bit of commentary.