Feeds

AT&T 'violates net neutrality' by NOT charging twice for same data

FCC should probe femto financials foul-up - digital rights group

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

American telco giant AT&T doesn’t want to charge femtocell users twice for the same data, but exempting its customers from the second bill could fall foul of US Network Neutrality, says the Public Knowledge blog, which has demanded an FCC investigation into "data cap abuse".

Femtocells are tiny base stations which route cellular connections over domestic broadband to extend coverage, but that generally results in customers paying twice for the data: once to their cellular network and once to their broadband provider, so AT&T decided that customers buying both services from AT&T should only be charged once, which is where Net Neutrality kicks in.

The problem is that if you have a femtocell from Verizon or Sprint then you do have to pay twice for the bandwidth, and that's not neutral - which is why Public Knowledge is calling for an FCC investigation.

It's not that customers actually pay for the bandwidth directly, it's just deducted from your monthly cap or not, which is effectively the same as paying for it. This means data used by an AT&T femtocell on AT&T's U-Verse broadband is only deducted from the cellular cap and not from the fixed-line cap, as would normally be the case.

Back when femtocells were first proposed it was assumed that punters would refuse to pay twice, and that, combined with quality of service issues, would limit deployments to customers who got their fixed and mobile from the same supplier. But cheap broadband made customers less sensitive, while increased capacity made quality-of-service issues disappear, to the point where femtocell users pay so little they don't mind paying twice.

But the amount of money isn't relevant to Net Neutrality, which requires packets to be treated equally and is a matter of principle, and - at least in the USA - a matter of law, as Public Knowledge points out. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.