Feeds

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

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

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE accused of silencing customer gripes on social media pages
Hello. HELLO. Can EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE HEAR ME?!
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Broadband slow and expensive? Blame Telstra says CloudFlare
Won't peer, will gouge for Internet transit
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?