Recently, AT&T announced that you wouldn’t need to pay extra to use FaceTime Over Cellular, but that you will need a new, shared data plan. However, such a restriction may fall afoul of the FCC, and over net neutrality laws currently in place.
As reported by the New York Times, nonprofit group Public Knowledge has pointed out that by blocking some customers from using FaceTime Over Cellular, AT&T might be violating net neutrality laws that prevent carriers from blocking services that might compete with their own.
The F.C.C.’s Open Internet Rules say that providers are not allowed to “block applications that compete with the provider’s voice or video telephony services,” and by blocking FaceTime for some users, AT&T could potentially be cited for doing just that.
Conversely, AT&T claims this won’t be a problem, as FaceTime still works over Wi-Fi just fine. The FCC hasn’t commented on the situation, but anything that forces carriers to be more open and less restrictive strikes me as a good thing.