Public Knowledge says AT&T’s femtocell terms of service violates the FCC’s net neutrality provisions because the data from AT&T wireless microcells will NOT count against the data caps on AT&T DSL or U-verse home broadband connections.
The argument is similar to the one made against Comcast last year when they removed their wireless Xfinity video service from its data caps, while competing services did rack up monthly data usage, putting those competitors at a disadvantage and violating net neutrality provisions.
AT&T has decided that the data from AT&T wireless microcells will not count against the data caps on AT&T DSL or U-verse home broadband connections, says Public Knowledge. This sets AT&T microcell data apart from every other type of data on those connections, including data from a Verizon or Sprint microcell.
The message to AT&T DSL and U-verse consumers is clear: if your cell signal is weak and you are worried about your data cap, better get a phone from AT&T wireless. Simply put, this is an abuse of data caps. ISPs should not be able to use data caps anticompetitively. The company that connects you to the internet should not be able to abuse its control of that connection in order to make its unrelated services more attractive.
Residential AT&T High Speed Internet service includes 150 gigabytes (GB) of data each billing period, and residential AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet service includes 250 Gigabytes (GB) of data each billing period. The data you send and receive each month contributes to your monthly data plan. Wireless traffic from your AT&T 3G MicroCell does not count toward your monthly home broadband plan.
AT&T plans to install 40,000 Small Cells in the next few years. Many of the 40K “small cells” may largely consist of WiFi nodes using Hotspot 2.0 for seamless roaming. Hotspot 2.0 utilizes unlicensed WiFi hotspots for use by carriers, enabling seamless roaming by subscribers from cellular service to WiFi networks.