updated 11:50 pm EDT, Wed July 30, 2008
AT&T to bar P2P activity
AT&T is clamping down on users who operate peer-to-peer networking software using its 3G cellular network, due to the "chatty" behavior of the apps' communication protocols, rather than burst-style transmission methods. IP Democracy writes that, although the wireless provider has not yet implemented the practice, it is noted in the End-User License Agreement to be against company policy, with violators running the risk of banishment from the network since it claims that peer-to-peer connectivity degrades its overall network stability.
It is uncertain how AT&T expects to continue the practice, with Republican FCC commissioner Robert McDowell citing that it parallels Comcast's illegal throttling of peer-to-peer connections. FCC guidelines state that all providers must maintain a stance of neutrality towards all network protocols, regardless of transmission method.
A glaring difference, however, is that AT&T states this practice in their licensing agreement, whereas Comcast was acting behind-the-scenes. The motion is far from finalized, and some remain in doubt that the order would stick if appealed, with critics saying that the FCC does not have the power to make such a decision.