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Verizon Throttles Data To "Provide Incentive To Limit Usage" 316

Posted by timothy
from the tell-me-more-about-the-word-unlimited dept.
An anonymous reader writes About a week ago, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asked for Verizon's justification on its policy of throttling users who pay for unlimited data usage. "I know of no past Commission statement that would treat 'as reasonable network management' a decision to slow traffic to a user who has paid, after all, for 'unlimited' service," the FCC wrote. In its response, Verizon has indicated that its throttling policy is meant to provide users with an incentive to limit their data usage. The company explained that "a small percentage of the customers on these [unlimited] plans use disproportionately large amounts of data, and, unlike subscribers on usage-based plans, they have no incentive not to do so during times of unusually high demand....our practice is a measured and fair step to ensure that this small group of customers do not disadvantage all others."
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Verizon Throttles Data To "Provide Incentive To Limit Usage"

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  • by TheRealQuestor (1750940) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @10:32PM (#47611289)
    We kick you in the head because we care!
  • by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @10:35PM (#47611299)

    I've seen much bigger problems with cell phone internet than this. For instance, there's the tactic of selling "4G" service with the caveat that you get 4G speeds on "preferred websites" for the first 200MB, and then get throttled down. Give us net neutrality on phones first, then start working on regulating how they can sell it.

  • Except,,, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @10:37PM (#47611315) Journal

    If they don't actually have the resources to offer plans to subscribers without the disincentive of additional fees, then they shouldn't be offering such plans to customers in the first place.

    Of course, both fees and throttling can equally be considered as disincentives, and the entire notion behind "unlimited" plans is that you wouldn't have to deal with any unexpected disincentives to continue use.

  • Re:Kinda like - (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @10:37PM (#47611317)

    No, it would be like buying a bus pass but then being told you're using it too much so they won't let you on the bus as an "incentive" to ride less.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @10:40PM (#47611325)

    ...if the government would just cut the crap, close the loophole, and apply the common carrier designation to these greedy service providers.

    Unfortunately, America is the greatest country in the world that money can buy.

  • More Like -- (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dcollins (135727) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @10:40PM (#47611327) Homepage

    Getting in the car and finding that Chris Christie shut down most of the lanes to gain political leverage.

  • cretinous because (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @10:40PM (#47611337)

    All they need to do is state a limit (200G 500G, 2T?, ...) at which throttling will kick in, and stop lying about 'unlimited'. American corporations are so addicted to getting away with telling lies that they don't seem to even know when they're doingit.

  • Funny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheDarkMaster (1292526) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @10:41PM (#47611343)
    So... In short, the company wants me to pay full price for the service and expect me to not use it? I pay for a car, but I can not use it? Ok, I give up trying to understand the humans...
  • by gl4ss (559668) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @10:49PM (#47611385) Homepage Journal

    200mb is a joke at 20mbit/s.

    anyways, the problem with penalizing the top 10% is that next month top 10% will have smaller use and the next month 10% is smaller and the next 10% is smaller... ending up with 100mbytes getting you into the top 10% users before long. what kind of "unlimited" is that?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @10:57PM (#47611423)

    We give you tiny plate at all-you-can-eat buffet because we care.

  • Keep voting, sheep (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ourlovecanlastforeve (795111) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @12:25AM (#47611723)

    What I don't understand is how we're still allowing carriers to call their service "unlimited."

    When I pay my water bill and I am told I get unlimited water, I don't expect the water company to decrease the flow of water to a trickle if I take too many showers.

    If they did that, there would be an uprising.

    When I pay the electric company for electricity I don't expect them to decrease the voltage on my line if I leave the TV on while I'm sleeping.

    So... how is it that Verizon gets to tell me I am paying for unlimited data, but not provide unlimited data?

    Where is the uprising for this lie?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @01:35AM (#47611897)
    I wouldn't call that abuse, it's what you PAID for. If these swindling thieves at Verizon cannot provide 100% capacity to 100% of their customers at all times, then they are overselling their service and pocketing the money instead of using that money to build out their infrastructure. They are committing fraud.

    I'm glad my ISP doesn't do any of this shit and I can use my full capacity 24/7.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @03:33AM (#47612145)

    It seems very clear. If Verizon thinks it's okay to throttle bandwidth to "provide incentive to limit usage", then when it comes time to pay the bill, pay only 70-80% to "provide incentive to lower your monthly bill".

  • by Sqr(twg) (2126054) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @03:58AM (#47612197)

    It seems to me that Verison's problem is on the marketing side. Their technical implementation is correct.

    This is basic QoS. For a simplified example, let's assume there are only two users (but the network is still congested). One is trying to download a fix amount of data, i.e. watch a certain number of YouTube videos. Let's call her the "limited" user. The other is trying to download as many linux-distribution isos as she possibly can. Let's call her the "unlimited" user. (We assume that the carrier can guess which user is which, based in historical bandwidth use.)

    If the carrier throttles both users equally - what some would consider the "fair" solution - then the limited user will have to wait while her videos buffer (but we will assume that she still watches the number of videos that she had decided on). The amount of data that the unlimited user can download equals total network capacity minus the size of the YouTube videos.

    If the carrier only throttles the unlimited user, then the limited user gets a better experience, but still watches the same number of videos, i.e. downloads the same amount of data during the period of the congestion. The amount of data that the unlimited user can download still equals total network capacity minus the size of the videos, so she doesn't actually get any negative effect from the "unfair" throttling.

    (The above reasoning holds even if the unlimited user is also watching video, if we assume that she has a large enough buffer. But if both users are doing video conferencing, then it would be better to throttle both equally.)

    Of course, the best solution would be to upgrade the network to 4G, and this is what the FCC should force the providers to do.

  • Re:Except,,, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jeIIomizer (3670945) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @06:25AM (#47612569)

    You know what really works? People using common sense and realizing that there is no such thing as "unlimited" bandwidth, food, or anything else.

    Then stop advertising it as such. "common sense" is nonsense, and I'm tired of people using a phrase that could literally mean anything. Popularity is irrelevant, and since what is believed to be "common sense" is often nonsensical, it's just not a very good term.

  • Re:Except,,, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @08:50AM (#47613125) Homepage Journal

    Too true. And when I go to an all-you-can-eat restaurant, I expect to be able to take the entirety of all of the food in the buffet, throw it in garbage bags, and carry them to my table, denying everyone else in the restaurant anything to eat.

    That's a dumb metaphor, because the customers are using provided plates. It's like they're providing you a plate the size of your table, then insisting you put no more than one cup of food on it at a time.

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.

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