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Federal Trade Commission continues case against AT&T

In 2014, AT&T was sued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for allegedly reducing the data speed on heavy data users who had unlimited data plans. According to the FTC, AT&T failed to notify the users that their data speed would be reduced by nearly 90 percent.

AT&T is the number two wireless carrier in the U.S. According to AT&T, because it is a common carrier, it is exempt from the FTC regulations. An appeals court ruled favorably on AT&T's behalf.

The FTC appealed to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, who ruled in favor of the agency and restored the lawsuit. This lawsuit has critics on both sides. Those on the side of the FTC believe a favorable decision on behalf of AT&T would negate any governance on other internet service providers in the U.S.

An AT&T spokesman stated that the "decision on jurisdiction does not address the merits of the case" and that they still believe they will prevail in the end. However, the FTC chair believes the appeal is "good news for consumers."

Business litigation issues are sometimes resolved through arbitration. However, in cases like this one, there is a lot at stake when you consider the ramifications of a favorable decision from both sides. Without regulations from the FTC, on one hand, internet service providers could be free to take advantage of consumers. On the other hand, if AT&T's argument of not being under the FTC regulations prevails, this might allow other U.S. companies more freedom to expand their business.

If you have a business that is being held to regulations that you believe are unfair, it will take a good business law attorney to litigate the matter on behalf of your business. These types of issues can go all the way to the top and possibly set new standards for future companies.

Source: CNBC, "UPDATE 1-California appeals court revives U.S. FTC's case against AT&T," Diane Bartz, Feb. 26, 2018

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