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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 bondsbw (888959) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @10:43PM (#47611355)

    Do the top users somehow get 100 Mbps during a time when I can only get 2 Mbps? If so, why is this allowed? If not, why is it a problem?

    I don't recall any wireless service claiming that unlimited data would guarantee unlimited bandwidth (which is physically impossible). They usually use terms like "up to X Mbps", based on various factors such as signal strength and usage... so during peak times, everyone's bandwidth goes down equally.

  • by mikeiver1 (1630021) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @11:45PM (#47611617)
    I have a Verizon account with 2 cells and one data card on the unlimited plan. I pay $216 a month for the whole thing. In the past they were to only internet I could get in the third world city of Santa Ana, CA that we lived in. We used to stream netflix and game on the connection, sometimes running well into the high teens of GB. I did get a notice from them to the effect that they were going to cap or throttle me should this continue. I responded that a lawsuit for breach of contract sounded fun and that I would be happy to take them there after contacting the press. I informed them that I had logs from my DEDICATED firewall showing the average transfer rates and volumes etc over past months and I would be happy to see them in court in front of a jury of "my" peers. It was not to long after that that the tower that they leased was dropped and the signal went to crap in our area. So fuck them I says, I built a very high gain Yagi/Uda and put it on the roof facing the tower that I now had to hit. I went from -103dBm to -52dBm and got the bit rate back up. I then started downloading ISOs for fun and pulled down near 23GB that month. All the while logging. They then called me again and I promptly told them that unlimited was what I signed on for and I was paying for. I was using 3G and they had 4G rolled in the area. I suggested that they move me to the 4g or stop calling and wasting both our time. They chose option 2. The phone, electric, banks, and gas companies are out of control but they pay big sums to the assholes on the hill so they can be. The load is transferred to the assholes of the middle class. Half the time I feel like I am going to burp up corporate cum from getting fucked so hard from so many different companies and the governments.
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @05:07AM (#47612381) Journal

    I'm glad my ISP doesn't do any of this shit and I can use my full capacity 24/7.

    Unless you're paying an insane amount or have a very slow connection, the odds are that you can only do this because a lot of users near you don't. ISPs don't have the off-network capacity for everyone to saturate their connections all of the time and they provide a service that's a lot cheaper than a dedicated leased line on the assumption that most won't. This assumption is usually fine, because most of their customers don't come close to it. The 32TB/month that you'd consume if you saturated a 100Mb/s link all of the time is a couple of orders of magnitude more than most users will need, even if they're streaming a couple of hours of video each evening.

    The problem is advertising it as unlimited. Most users would be fine with a few hundred GBs a month at full speed and then throttling. My ISP has bumped the speed of my connection twice since in the last few years so that now the throttled speed is about the same as the unthrottled speed used to be, so I can still watch 720p streams even if I am throttled (they've also bumped up the allowances, so I think I've only hit them once in the last year).

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @05:12AM (#47612395) Journal

    Because guaranteed bandwidth is expensive. Let's say you have a 1GB/s pipe from an exchange. That exchange services 100 users. You can offer them each 10Mb/s connections that you can guarantee that they'll be able to saturate. Most of the users won't be using it all of the time though, so you could offer them 20Mb/s and still be pretty confident that they'd all be able to saturate it when they wanted to. Even at 50Mb/s you'd probably be able to, but now there's the potential for 20 of the 100 users to consume all of the bandwidth, so you're a bit closer to a sensible limit.

    Now, the sensible thing to do would be advertise two speeds, the guaranteed speed and the maximum speed. Unfortunately, this is really easy to game. An ISP would say 'well, we have a 1GB/s link, so we'll guarantee 10Mb/s and set the maximum to 1GB/s'. Then, however, no one would ever see the maximum. ISPs used to advertise contention ratios on ADSL, but they stopped for this reason: your 1:50 contention ratio looks really bad next to your competitor's 1:10 contention ratio, but they don't advertise that the contended link for them is a tenth the speed of yours.

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

    by Bryan Ischo (893) * on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @06:14AM (#47612547) Homepage

    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.

    Yeah, that works.

    You know what really works? People using common sense and realizing that there is no such thing as "unlimited" bandwidth, food, or anything else. When such services are advertised I think we all realize, or at least the reasonable among us realize, that "unlimted" means "much more than the average consumer would utilize, and thus from the perspective of the average consumer, unlimited", not "as much as you can possibly use".

    Who doesn't realize that limiting the highest users is sometimes necessary to ensure quality of service for everyone? Hey I paid my Verizon bill too, how come my service is slower because some dork has to torrent down 100 movies per month to add to his never-watched "collection"? Shouldn't I be complaining also about not getting the quality of service *I* paid for?

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