When Apple launched iPhone 5 and announced that iPhone users will finally be able to use FaceTime over cellular networks, Apple users were ecstatic. They have long been demanding that the feature should be offered over regular calls, not just on WiFi. However, one of iPhone 5 carriers, AT&T, seems to be curbing the use of FaceTime through its restrictive policies.
AT&T had earlier announced that it will be restricting the use of FaceTime calling over AT&T’s network for certain customers. Clearly, this was regarded as the violation of Open Internet rules by many public interest groups.
These groups, which include Public Knowledge, Free Press and the New America Foundation, have now lodged a formal complaint with FCC over AT&T’s decision. According to these groups, AT&T’s “decision to block FaceTime unless a customer pays for voice and text minutes she doesn’t need is a clear violation of the FCC’s Open Internet rules.”
The complaint cites that the restrictive policy by AT&T is going to affect such users who wish to talk to their relatives overseas and some customers who are deaf. AT&T, on the other hand, has boldly defended its decision stating that although it has restricted FaceTime calls on cellular network, its users will still be able to use the feature on Wifi networks.
The formal complaint banks on the Open Internet rules, stating that AT&T’s decision violates them. However, AT&T said in its statement that such rules apply only to downloadable apps and are not applicable to its decision regarding FaceTime. Although FCC is expected to give a ruling on the complaint soon, not many are hopeful that it is going to be in the favor of the users.
Source: Public Knowledge
Courtesy: The Verge