AT&T blocking iPhone FaceTime on its network is a big blow to Deaf people


30 Responses to “AT&T blocking iPhone FaceTime on its network is a big blow to Deaf people”

  1. Marc45 says:

    Why does this post say “AT&T will block facetime” when that’s not the case at all?

    You guys don’t need to troll for readers.  Boing Boing is one of my favorite sites!

  2. Michael Langford says:

    I’m not going to be surprised if this counts as a substantial change to the contract, and get’s everyone out of their contract in time for a nice, network independent, iPhone 5 on Verizon or Sprint.

    • yeahyeahwhtever says:

      Hmm, change in TOS = get out for free b/c you don’t agree to the new  TOS?  Sweet!

      • EH says:

        Things like this tend to qualify as “material changes.” There’s some chit-chat on the internets about taking advantage of this kind of thing.

        • Gerald Mander says:

           Oh, thank you for this thought. I’d been thinking I would have to wait till my contract expired to get away from ATT for this asshat move.

  3. nvlady says:

    They just want to get ahead and around the ”unlimited’ plan stuff. Controlling bandwidth on portable devices Charging for bandwidth is the what they want and how they plan to raise their prices. Ive had an unlimited plan forever, and I feel this is one of the steps. Its sad, really, and once ATT (which I HATE) had real competition, we will see something happen.

    • yeahyeahwhtever says:

      American telco/ISPs provide scarcity in order to keep the price up.  And it wouldn’t be hard for them to degrade service on unlimited plans; they just have to make sure and not get caught.

      • EH says:

        They just introduce new things that aren’t grandfathered and change the name of the previously-unlimited plan to something like “plus classic” or “standard gold.” Much easier.

  4. signsofrain says:

    The reason we keep seeing these stupid stories is that network access providers (both wired and wireless) consistently sell more bandwidth than they are actually able to provide. Then, when faced with the network congestion they caused by overselling, they regulate the network in ever-more invasive ways. BitTorrent throttling, tethering “plans”, data caps and the massive fees for going over them… all caused by ISPs knowingly selling more bandwidth than they can provide.

  5. grimc says:

    I wonder if it could be argued that this is a violation of the ADA.

  6. Steven Noble says:

    Hopefully the HLAA or possibly the ACLU will get involved.  It’s a very touchy subject for sure.  IANAL but I don’t think it’s a violation of the ADA as AT&T is not discriminating against the deaf/hoh.  

    IMHO the deaf/hoh normally get the short end when it comes to cellular technology.  My mother is deaf and I’ve dealt with interference, expensive t-coil adapters and all sorts of other crap for the last 18 or so years.Up until the iPhone 4S, Apple did not comply with the guidelines for being compatible or not interfering with hearing aids as they met the “De Minimis Exception”.

    From : is not M3 or T3 rated as defined under the United States Federal Communication Commission hearing aid compatibility guidelines.

    From :”De Minimis Exception”: Apple qualifies for the FCC’s “de minimis” exception because it did not offer more than two handset models at any point during the reporting period.  Apple offered the iPhone 3G (A1241) from 07/09 – 06/10, but stopped offering this model prior to the introduction of the iPhone 4.  The FCC Hearing Aid Compatibility Status Report Form currently permits manufacturers who answer “no” to the first de minimis exception question to enter technical information for a maximum of two handsets.  However, technical information for the iPhone 3G is available in Apple’s previous status report dated July 15, 2009.

  7. Bink Binkerson says:

    Somebody clue me in here;  I’m a closet Apple fanboi with an iPhone and a MacBook Pro.  And I hate AT&T as much as the next guy (actually, much more).

    But faced with this Facetime bullshit, why not just use Skype?

    • grimc says:

      From the Wired piece:

      Third-party apps like Skype require installation, set-up and integration and are not “always on” in the same way FaceTime is. FaceTime’s Wi-Fi limitation has been its only inconvenience, and has led to many missed calls.

      • Bink Binkerson says:

        Fine.  Send your friend an iMessage (always on) saying “I’m calling you on Skype in one minute”.   With all the adaptation and creativity that deaf people have to go through in their lives daily, this is NOTHING.   But yes, AT&T does suck in a world-class manner.

  8. geekagirl says:

    AT&T has a relay/teletype service for it’s deaf/hard of hearing customers.  The federal government funds this service.  Golly gee, I wonder why they seem to be discouraging the use of Facetime?

    • glatt1 says:

       It’s ironic that this is AT&T that’s doing this.  AT&T is a spin-off of Bell decades ago when it was broken up.  Bell was a pioneer in developing things to help the deaf community.  I remember as a kid going to Bell Labs and playing with the external artificial voice boxes you could hold against your neck to give you a voice if you had none.

    • TheMadLibrarian says:

       Have you ever seen the teletype relay service machine?  It’s the size of a laptop, only does text, and needs to be plugged into a land line with an attached telephone.  It is not a viable alternative to Facetime, the same way that a moped is not a replacement for a Harley, even if they are both two-wheeled motorized transportation.

  9. yeahyeahwhtever says:

    The corporate person that is ATT does not care one bit about you or your issues; it only cares about increasing profits.  

  10. TalkingKoala says:

    Another reason not to use AT&T 

  11. Daemonworks says:

    Of course, they could use any of the other video-chat options out there. This is actually the first I’ve heard of anone actually using facetime instead of skype – and I recently spent a year on exchange with a small horde of folks with ipods, iphones and macs.

  12. howaboutthisdangit says:

    This sounds like a typical move for a U.S. carrier.  They do not like to give away anything that can be charged for, even it it is a feature built in to the phone.

  13. Ito Kagehisa says:

    The Blessed Saint Ayn Rand, patron of the one percent,  says we need to punish the blind and deaf harshly for their handicaps, and then kick them while they are down. 

    It’s the only objectively rational thing to do.  It’s righteous!

    If they aren’t challenged, how can they triumph over the evil, pimply forces of collectivism and become rich industrialists with rugged, chiseled features?

    Making them pay extra for things that other people get for free is good for them.

  14. Sassy Lou says:

    AT&T Sucks! They are going to get tons of people dropping them as soon as the new iPhone gets out. We have someone in the office who is so ready to pay the break contract fee. My girlfriend’s line got dropped last night..just like they have been for the past 4 years.

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