Updated: AT&T Decides Net Neutrality Won't Work for Wireless

39 Comments

Update April 3: Five days after the terms of service were changed, and four days after the first outcry in the online community, AT&T has retracted the worrisome language in its TOS that forbid third-party video transfers over its cellular network. Today the carrier issued the following statement: “The language added on March 30 to AT&T’s wireless data service Terms and Conditions was done in error. It was brought to our attention and we have since removed it. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.” [original story follows]

Along with a new mobile data pricing plan to go with its subsidized netbooks, AT&T (s T) has also changed its terms of service in a way that appears to limit video on its wireless network. As the Public Knowledge Policy Blog points out, the AT&T Wireless terms of service now explicitly prohibit “downloading movies using P2P file sharing services, customer initiated redirection of television or other video or audio signals via any technology from a fixed location to a mobile device, web broadcasting, and/or for the operation of servers, telemetry devices and/or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition devices.” NewTeeVee has some good analysis of what this could mean for online video companies and consumers.

39 Comments

Ed

Yeess! At some point I was on the way to use AT&T services but changed my mind. And only now found out about this.

Robert Hallock

“Done in error” or done hoping nobody would notice?

It’s a shame the contract was reverted; now I can’t bail on AT&Terrible without an ETF.

vinod

unless consumers complain as much about jittery video as they do about dropped calls, wireless carriers have no incentive to treat the 2 types of data the same.

Edwatd Craig

It’s amusing I hadn’t thought of Skypr for my G1 until I noticed these stories about AT&T’s shenanigans.
Successfully installed. No complaint from T-mobile.

Wordsmith9091

Will this count as a materially adverse contract change? Can users be let out of their contracts for this?

Dan M

Overloaded mobile network infrastructures is a problem shared by many (or all) mobile operators, however we are fortunate not all operators are headed towards more and more severe use and volume restrictions. Forward looking operators are finding ways to integrate two or more wireless networks into their services offering, ensuring bandwidth is available when and where you need it, and enabling the operator to better manage the cost of carrying that traffic.

Moves like this one from AT&T only re-enforce the need for these innovative approaches, and will ensure their success.

Scott S

I can understand why AT&T would want to limit video usage on their wireless network.

It’s because their network sucks.

I love my iPhone but if I could choose another provider I’d be outta there.

Ted Shelton

AT&T is just setting up a test case for Obama FCC to see how much room they will be given.

Thomas Welsh

This sounds a bit OTT, even for a former monopoly.

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