public knowledgeOK there is a non profit named Public Knowledge, based in Washington D.C. of course, and fight for our networks to be open. I personally like that mission but they have put out a disturbing statement … See this:

AT&T is using the data caps that it imposes on its home broadband subscribers to disadvantage competitors to AT&T Wireless.

The AT&T 3G MicroCell acts as a miniature cell tower that can be used to supplement and improve cell phone service for voice calls or data applications. However, ¬†AT&T is exempting data from AT&T Wireless MicroCells from the data caps it imposes on its wireless home broadband users. This is similar to Comcast’s decision last year to exempt its own online video service from its data cap.

The following can be attributed to Michael Weinberg, Vice President:

“AT&T is egregiously abusing data caps to give its own services advantages over competitors. There is no reason why AT&T should treat AT&T Wireless MicroCell data different than any other data – including data from a Verizon or Sprint MicroCell – on a subscriber’s home connection.

“Internet service providers should not be able to use data caps anti-competitively. When providers give preferential treatment to data associated with their services, they undermine competition and inhibit innovation. This is precisely the type of discrimination at the core of the net neutrality debate. The FCC and, if necessary, Congress must take steps to end data cap abuse.

AT&T microcell small cell

OK this is a bit misguided. The AT&T Microcell ¬†allows AT&T subscribers to avoid data caps by NOT carrying user traffic over the WCDMA/LTE macro mobile network infrastructure, but pushes it upstream on the END USER’S BROADBAND connection.

C’MON, what’s the problem with that???? Am I missing something here? It’s not like the neighbors can’t buy a MicroCell from their neighborhood AT&T store to avoid going over THEIR data cap, or just connect their own home broadband to a WiFi AP to bypass the AT&T network… Heck, as of today Facebook lets you call each other so this is not even relevant to voice.

The only way I can think to make sense of their complaint is if they are complaining that the small cell core infrastructure (ignore that it’s just SIP based, for now) is closed, thus limiting what types of small cells we end users may obtain and use on the network. There could be an interesting ecosystem here. I doubt this is their angle but it’s a valid complaint.


So an asymmetrical attack, Sprint and Verizon have deployed far more small cells, without technical merit really 99.99% of the time comes from your competitor.

Anyway things like this irritate me to no end…


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  • milanyc

    They’re talking about ISPs that cap home broadband usage. Technically att uverse will charge data used while your Sprint or T-Mobile micro cell is operating, but they wouldn’t do the same for their att wireless customers.

    Now that home broadband operators cap your usage this behaviour can be seen as anti competitive.



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