Following on from reports that AT&T could possibly apply a surcharge for users who want to make FaceTime calls over a cellular connection, the organizations Free Press, Public Knowledge and the New American Open Technology Institute have now come forward to say that the will be making an official complaint to the Federal Communications Commission (via GigaOM). The complaint will apparently allege that by charging extra for users to FaceTime over a cellular connection, the carrier will violate net neutrality rules.
Apple recently announced during their showcase of iOS 6 at the launch of the iPhone 5, that with the release of the new mobile operating system, FaceTime would now be available to use over a cellular connection. Previously, this had only been possible by jailbreaking an iOS device and applying a patch. However, in August, AT&T suggested that it could charge for FaceTime by using a piss poor excuse that FCC net neutrality rules “do not regulate the availability to customers of applications that are preloaded on phones”.
The organizations listed above seem differently to AT&T and are therefore stating their intent to file a complaint with the FCC. The Free Press organization suggests that blocking such applications on mobile devices is prohibited under net neutrality rules. The complaint is obviously well timed with the release of iOS 6 and subsequent enabling of FaceTime over cellular connections set to take place tomorrow. It’s not clear what the consequences of such a complaint will be, but it’s likely that an FCC investigation of the complaint will have to take place.
As such, and obviously depending on the outcome of the complaint, AT&T may feel the wrath of more than just angry consumers over this issue.