AT&T Escapes FTC Data Throttling Charges

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The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has reversed a lower court decision of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) finding that AT&T engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices by throttling the speeds of mobile data customers who had purchased unlimited data plans without disclosing this policy.  The appeals court found that the recent reclassification of broadband services  as telecommunications services by the FCC meant that the FTC did not have statutory authority to review AT&T’s data services and policies.  The FTC does not have authority to review the actions of common carriers and the FCC’s reclassification of mobile data service from an information service to a telecommunications service effectively removed such services from FTC scrutiny.

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