WASHINGTON -- On Wednesday, AT&T announced the continuation of its phased rollout of mobile FaceTime, the popular Apple video-calling application. AT&T confirmed that it will no longer block the application on its cellular network for customers on tiered data plans.
Beginning in September 2012, AT&T blocked mobile use of FaceTime for all customers other than those on its latest — and most expensive — "mobile share" data plans. At that time, public interest groups Free Press, Public Knowledge and New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute readied a formal complaint against AT&T's illegal practices at the Federal Communications Commission. In the face of that complaint and widespread public outcry, AT&T began reversing course in November and making the app available to additional classes of customers.
Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood made the following statement:
"AT&T's announcement is another step in the right direction. It shows once again that the FCC's Open Internet rules can create more consumer certainty, as they work to give people more choices and freedom in use of their data. Yet as we've made clear all along, the company has no right to block the application in the first place. Until AT&T makes FaceTime available to all of its customers, it is still in violation of the law and the broader principles of Net Neutrality. We remain ready to bring our complaint unless AT&T finishes the job and stops blocking this application altogether."