AT&T “Turbo” feature on iOS app gives subscribers access to congested data network for a fee

Per CNET, the nation’s third-largest wireless provider, AT&T, mentions a new “Turbo” feature for the myAT&T app in the App Store. According to the App Store listing, “With this update, you can add new lines and choose wireless plans directly within the app. You can also add AT&T Turbo to provide uninterrupted network speeds during peak traffic times.” This means that if you’re an AT&T subscriber at an event that is packed with people, you can make sure that your phone will still be able to access data regardless of how congested the network is. 
For better access to the AT&T network, you will be paying some sort of additional fee. If this sounds like it would have violated the old Net Neutrality rules, you’d be right. Until the Trump-era FCC voted against the rule causing Net Neutrality to end on June 11th, 2018, all internet traffic was considered to be the same and a wireless firm, like, say, AT&T, couldn’t charge subscribers additional money to get a faster pipeline or priority access to a data connection.
Net Neutrality became a political football which isn’t surprising considering that there are five commissioners appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate who sit for a five-year term. The majority party is allowed to have three representatives while the minority party must hold the remaining two seats. During the Trump years, the Republicans, who were against Net Neutrality, held a 3-2 edge led by Chairman Ajit Pai.

Currently, because one of the five seats is vacant, the FCC is split between four members, two from each major political party which makes the panel bipartisan:

  • Jessica Rosenworcel (Chairwoman) Democratic-term ends June 30, 2025
  • Geoffrey Starks Democratic-term ends June 30, 2027
  • Brendan Carr Republican-term ends June 30, 2028
  • Nathan Simington Republican-term ends June 30, 2024

Last October, the FCC voted 3-2 to approve a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) which requested comments from Americans about whether they would be in favor of bringing back Net Neutrality.

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