from the tap-tap-tap dept
As far as I can tell, AT&T's defense is two-fold:
- It believes that there is a loophole in the net neutrality rules in that it does not apply to preloaded apps, and they can set whatever access rules for such apps that they want:
The FCC’s net neutrality rules do not regulate the availability to customers of applications that are preloaded on phones. Indeed, the rules do not require that providers make available any preloaded apps. Rather, they address whether customers are able to download apps that compete with our voice or video telephony services.
- It believes that as long as some other competing apps are available, they can restrict the apps they want to restrict.
AT&T does not restrict customers from downloading any such lawful applications, and there are several video chat apps available in the various app stores serving particular operating systems. (I won’t name any of them for fear that I will be accused by these same groups of discriminating in favor of those apps. But just go to your app store on your device and type “video chat.”) Therefore, there is no net neutrality violation.
Of course, all of this is why we've argued for nearly a decade that the whole "net neutrality" fight is a red herring, anyway. The telcos are always going to find their own loopholes and ways around the rules (which they helped create anyway). The whole fight over net neutrality is not the problem. It's a symptom of the real problem: a lack of serious competition in the marketplace. Get more competitors out there, and increase the fight over customers, and AT&T can't get away with such moves.