FCC to look at AT&T's FaceTime limits, says report

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission hinted that the commission would review complaints filed against AT&T over the iPhone video-chat feature, according to a report.

AT&T's decision to limit Apple's FaceTime video-chat feature over cellular connections has stirred up some complaints.
AT&T's decision to limit Apple's FaceTime video-chat feature over cellular connections has stirred up some complaints. Apple

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission made remarks today that indicate the agency may review complaints filed about AT&T's decision to limit the use of FaceTime video chat over its cell network, The Verge reported.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said he couldn't comment on AT&T specifically, but if efforts to resolve any disputes aren't resolved and a complaint is filed, "we will exercise our responsibilities and we will act."

An FCC representative confirmed to CNET that Genachowski made the comment during a question and answer session after a speech at Vox Media's offices in Washington, D.C.

AT&T and other carriers have been struggling with the issue of increasing data use from mobile users, a problem compounded by the rise of data-gobbling video-chat applications like Apple's FaceTime.

AT&T announced in August that users on its Mobile Share plan can run FaceTime over its cellular network, but other plans still require Wi-Fi to use the video service.

Internet advocates have questioned AT&T's ability to limit the use of the iPhone's FaceTime video-chat feature, saying the restrictions could go against Federal Communications Commission rules that prohibit mobile carriers from blocking applications that compete with the carrier's voice or video services .

In the past, AT&T has defended its plan, saying it doesn't violate the FCC's rules.

Update, 10:33 p.m. PT: Adds more background.

 

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