AT&T users staging “Operation Chokehold” to protest sucktastic network

Earlier this week, I posted about how AT&T is whining that people who have iPhones want to like, use them and stuff and that’s causing them to have to put hard earned profits into shoring up their network. A waaahmbulance may have been called.

Consumerist posted about Operation Chokehold- editor Ben Popken, like me, can’t seem to make a phone call in New York. Apparently, we’re not the only ones, because a fed up Fake Steve Jobs called for users to implement “Operation Chokehold” to teach AT&T a lesson about withholding bandwidth. The staged “digital disobedience” is scheduled for this Friday at 3pm EST, noon Pacific. Participants are organizing through a Facebook group, and plan to simultaneously use data-heavy applications to strangle AT&T’s already weak data network:

Subject: Operation Chokehold

On Friday, December 18, at noon Pacific time, we will attempt to overwhelm the AT&T data network and bring it to its knees. The goal is to have every iPhone user (or as many as we can) turn on a data intensive app and run that app for one solid hour. Send the message to AT&T that we are sick of their substandard network and sick of their abusive comments. THe idea is we’ll create a digital flash mob. We’re calling it in Operation Chokehold. Join us and speak truth to power!

While some users are already complaining that the “digital flash mob” will impact everyone on the network Friday, the fact remains that AT&T users signed a contract (with heavy ETFs) in exchange for a service. We should all be able to use the service we pay for, which includes unlimited data, whenever the hell we want to- even if our friends plan on using it at the same time. At this point, I’d personally be thrilled if I could make a phone call without getting the dreaded “call failed” screen, much less watch a YouTube video on the iPhone I pay well over $100 for the privilege of not being able to use every month.

Cult of Mac posted a response from AT&T downplaying the threat of a few people using YouTube on their iPhones at the same time:

We understand that fakesteve.net is primarily a satirical forum, but there is nothing amusing about advocating that customers attempt to deliberately degrade service on a network that provides critical communications services for more than 80 million customers. We know that the vast majority of customers will see this action for what it is: an irresponsible and pointless scheme to draw attention to a blog.

AT&T has also hinted that services like 911 will be adversely impacted if enough users participate but again I posit- isn’t it their problem to ensure we can connect to emergency services? What if one of my kids starts choking or my house catches fire on a day where a particularly popular video of a cat riding a segway is being passed around, am I just SOL?