The Federal Communications Commission plans to fine AT&T $100 million in the agency's first-ever attempt to enforce net-neutrality rules.
AT&T misled consumers by limiting "unlimited" data plans, the FCC claimed Wednesday. Under AT&T's "Maximum Bit Rate" policy, it reduces the data speeds of customers paying for unlimited data plans after they use a certain amount of a data in a billing period. According to the FCC, the speeds were so slow that consumers were unable to use common applications like videos or GPS maps.
AT&T's policy, the FCC said, violates the "transparency" requirement of the net-neutrality rules, which requires carriers to sufficiently inform consumers about network-management practices.
It is the largest fine in the FCC's history, but agency officials argue it is still far less than the billions of dollars AT&T has made on the "unlimited" plans.
AT&T is also fighting a lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission, which claims the policy amounts to deceptive advertising.
"Consumers deserve to get what they pay for," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement. "Broadband providers must be upfront and transparent about the services they provide. The FCC will not stand idly by while consumers are deceived by misleading marketing materials and insufficient disclosure."