FaceTime over cellular is one of the big changes that Apple made when it updated its mobile operating system. With iOS 6 comes the ability to make FaceTime calls using 3G and 4G networks. While Verizon and Sprint have decided to allow this service to be included for free, AT&T put a limit on FaceTime use to subscribers to their “Mobile Share Plan.” Public outcry against AT&T for limiting Facetime as not being “Net Neutral” has thus far gone unrecognized.
However, The Verge has reported that Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Julius Genachowski has hinted at the possibility that the government organization will act if complaints against the Internet service provider are filed.
At Vox Media, Genachowski told The Verge that, if a good-faith effort to resolve the issue, “doesn’t lead to a resolution and a complaint is filed, we will exercise our responsibilities and we will act.” Several net neutrality advocate groups have spoken out about AT&T’s decision to limit FaceTime to certain subscribers, claiming that the FCC’s Open Internet rules prohibit arbitrarily limiting a service like Facetime over specific networks.
The advocacy groups notified AT&T that they plan to file a formal complaint to the FCC. However, no official complaint has been filed at this time.
AT&T responded to critic complaints in mid-August, saying that net neutrality rules don’t apply because of a loophole that says providers must make available apps that compete with voice or video telephony services. AT&T argues that it is not restricting customers from downloading the apps, it is simply restricting cellular use of one of them.