A coalition of liberal advocacy groups has announced plans to challenge AT&T's policy of blocking FaceTime video chat over its cellular network. AT&T has insisted that the policy does not raise network neutrality concerns, characterizing the uproar over the policy as "another knee-jerk reaction" by the consumer groups. Three of those groups—Free Press, Public Knowledge, and the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute—are planning to make the knee-jerking official with a formal complaint to the Federal Communications Commission.
Considering the swathe of journalists reporting on the migration of former AT&T subscribers to Verizon for the iPhone 5, you'd think AT&T would be keen to ensure as much beneficial coverage as possible.
Instead, the vast majority of headlines concerning AT&T since the iPhone 5's announcement have included the words "FCC," "violation," "controversy," and "complaint."
Beyond the obvious negatives AT&T's FaceTime stance poses to the average consumer, its silence on the topic betrays the fact that its network is likely infrastructurally incapable of supporting the weight of such data-intensive calling. Moreover, it emphasizes the carrier's fear of an increasingly data-centric communications model.
Having already been damaged by iMessage, AT&T is evidently attempting to adopt a model in which it may still squeeze as much money from the end-user as possible.
Perhaps a formal FCC complaint will aid in the rectification of this near-sighted business decision, but I tend to think AT&T will remain (unfortunately) steadfast.