Verizon to FCC: We Throttle Unlimited Data Users to Incentivize Using Less Data

Last week FCC chairman Tom Wheeler sent a letter to Verizon CEO Daniel Mead asking him to explain why he thought his company could throttle unlimited customers in the name of network management. This week Verizon responded by saying that its policy of throttling unlimited data users on congested cell sites is perfectly legal and is a way to give heavy data users an "incentive" to stop using so much data.

Verizon Senior VP Kathleen Grillo sent the company’s response on Friday, and provided a copy to Ars Technica.

In that response Verizon said that the policy "is narrowly tailored to apply (1) only at particular cell sites experiencing unusually high demand; (2) only for the duration of that high demand; and (3) only to a very small percentage of customers who are heavy data users and are on plans that do not limit the amount of data they may use during the month without incurring added data charges (and otherwise have no incentive to limit usage during times of unusually high demand)—and then only when the particular cell site serving those customers is subject to unusually high demand."

The company further said that this policy is perfectly legal and reasonable because it prevents heavy users from using so much data that it causes other users to experience bad service.

Verizon is not alone in throttling its customers; AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile all have somewhat similar throttling policies.

You can check out Verizon's response here (PDF).

Source: Ars Technica

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  1. 0
    MechaCrash says:

    This is an enormous crock of shit. It's punishing the customers with unlimited data plans for actually using those unlimited data plans. If they didn't want as much data, they would've gone for one of the cheaper but limited plans.

    I agree with Left4Dead about slapping Verizon upside the head and telling them to provide the service people are paying for, but I still want to see some regulatory boots on telecom necks, and I want to see them bearing down hard.

  2. 0
    Greg Bullmer says:

    My experience with T-Mobile's mobile data throttling was very fair. I paid for 5 GB of data each month, and instead of slamming me with overage fees, they just kindly slowed down my connection to a crawl until the next month rolled over. I haven't experienced any of this since I switched to an unlimited data plan. In fact, they only seem to care about tethering data now, and every plan I saw was unlimited mobile data.

    This is very different from paying for unlimited data and getting throttled because I use it, as it appears to be in Verizon's case. If I understand their reasoning, wouldn't it just make more sense to say "data speeds may slow down during peak hours."

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