A federal appeals court ruled against AT & T, allowing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to continue its case against the telecommunications company that alleges that AT & T accelerated data speeds for millions of customers who purchased plans. of unlimited data.
The case formally began as a crackdown by the FTC on the way AT & T marketed its unlimited data plans. Then, this extended to exams on how much power the FTC has to hold companies accountable for their practices. Although the FTC Act gives the Commission authority to enforce "unfair or deceptive acts or practices," it exempts "common carriers." AT & T argued that it is a common public transportation company and that the FTC has no jurisdiction over it, but that notion was dismissed by the court.
The decision was taken by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of the US. UU And it is significant because it maintains the regulatory authority of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over large Internet service providers, even when they also provide services from independent operators. The common operator services include mobile telephony or fixed line services.
In a published court summary, Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown noted:
Allowing the FTC to monitor the unfair and deceptive practices of uncommon transportation of telecommunications companies has practical ramifications. New technologies have generated new regulatory challenges … Reaffirming the jurisdiction of the FTC over activities that are outside the services of common carriers avoids regulatory gaps and provides consistency and predictability in the application of regulations
The president of the FCC, Ajit Pai, in a statement also welcomed the result. "The decision of the Ninth Circuit … reaffirms that the Federal Trade Commission will once again be able to control Internet service providers after the Internet Freedom Restoration Order takes effect," Pai said. "In the coming months and years, we look forward to working closely with the FTC to ensure the protection of a free and open Internet."
"To guarantee the protection of a free and open Internet".
The FTC's lawsuit against AT & T alleges that the telecommunications company accelerated speeds once customers reached particular thresholds, such as 5 GB in a month. According to ArsTechnica, customers who passed those thresholds experienced reduced speeds for 24 hours a day until the end of their billing cycle each month. AT & T told ArsTechnica that the court's decision "does not address the merits of the case" and that it is "reviewing the opinion and continues to believe that we will ultimately prevail."
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) eliminated net neutrality rules in December. We have contacted AT & T for more comments.