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Verizon's Mobile Video Won't Count Against Data Caps -- but Netflix Will ( 106

Earthquake Retrofit writes: Ars Technica has a story about how Verizon Wireless is testing the limits of the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules; Verizon has announced that it will exempt its own video service from mobile data caps—while counting data from competitors such as YouTube and Netflix against customers' caps.
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Verizon's Mobile Video Won't Count Against Data Caps -- but Netflix Will

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  • by NotInfinitumLabs ( 1150639 ) on Saturday February 06, 2016 @09:38AM (#51452413)
    Let's hope that the FCC shows that its net neutrality enforcement has teeth.
    • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Saturday February 06, 2016 @09:53AM (#51452465) Journal
      The FCC has been dragging their feet before ruling on Zero-Rating, [] so hopefully they will get this one right.

      If Verizon is allowed to abuse this as a loophole, others will follow, and sponsored content will reign.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06, 2016 @10:23AM (#51452525)

      Doesn't this prove by example that there is no last mile scarcity on Verizon's wireless network? The reason for limits on wireless has always been this bottleneck, transit costs over fibre are small, if not free for a tier 1 provider. These costs are easily covered by a cellphone agreement. What is the IP transit cost for a 95% average line that does 2GB a month to Verizon $.05?

      With this move, Verizon is demonstrating that caps are unnecessary. With this evidence, one might even argue that caps are an arbitrary and capricious with the sole purpose of extorting money from customers and content providers.

      • Doesn't this prove by example that there is no last mile scarcity on Verizon's wireless network?

        Eh, yes and no. If Go90 can truly clog up Verizon's bandwidth, they'll be making so much money that network expansion costs are little to be concerned about.

        The physical issues with congestion are real, and while Verizon can solve them, they want to be paid more (i.e. profit more) if they're going to have to spend more.

        • No question. The issue is that - under the current Verizon scheme at issue - only Verizon can pursue this business model. Anti-net-neutrality proponents would argue that Netflix should be able to pay Verizon more money for access, and Verizon could then use that money to upgrade. Net neutrality proponents would argue that Verizon should just directly charge their customers to use more bandwidth, and then use that money to upgrade.

          Verizon wants a little of both to give themselves something of a monopoly (1).

          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            Yeah, I'd not say that it's a monopoly so much as there are alternatives but not many of them are very good. My home is in a *very* rural area. My choices are pretty much limited to those who have a peering agreement or resell VZW or I'm booted off in short order. I use US Cellular and they have their own towers and whatnot. However, they also have a peering agreement with VZW. T-Mobile seems to not have such an agreement and simply does not work in my area. AT&T works but they boot you off if it turns

        • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Saturday February 06, 2016 @12:44PM (#51452957) Homepage

          Still, it's an indication that carriers and ISPs are not being completely honest. They basically keep claiming that they need special protections, they need the ability to throttle and limit service, and that services like Netflix can't perform because it's simply not possible to deliver the bandwidth people are demanding. They imply (I'm not sure they've said it outright) that it's not a problem of their unwillingness to upgrade their network, but that people's expectations are just out of whack-- that people using more than a few gigabytes per month are bad actors, using up all the bandwidth, and that there is not any possible way for them to fulfill the demands on their network.

          But now they're saying that everything is fine, so long as they can cut Netflix out of the market and take those profits for themselves. If they're allowed to have a monopoly, then suddenly all the technical problems go away.

      • by radarskiy ( 2874255 ) on Saturday February 06, 2016 @07:41PM (#51454793)

        Alternative theory: Verizon's home growth mobile video is crap that no one wants, thus the usage is so low that they can afford to give the bandwidth away from free.

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Saturday February 06, 2016 @10:54AM (#51452609)

      Is it?
      They are not preventing Netflix or YouTube, There isn't any sign that they are slowing down their performance. It is just they are counting the data the same as any other internet download.
      The only twist is that Verizon isn't charging for bandwidth for its own service.
      You could say the cost of Verizon mobile is being paid from the service fee, and you are actually paying more then than the data cap fees.

    • They're not going to do a damn thing. Net neutrality had been little more than lip service. Applications can still be discriminated against and traffic is still favored (create your own speed test and compare against the popular ones to see what I mean).

  • In Australia, Optus has offered unlimited Facebook/Twitter for years. I think even Wikipedia has a zero cost with many African providers.

    The US really needs to make a stand. We're behind in so many other areas, we can at least have real network neutrality. It's something the industry won't do itself, and they sell it to customers by saying, "Hey, free Facebook and YouTube..."

    • Re: Other countries (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I feel sorry for you Americans. In Finland I get 250/100Mbps for 29.90 EUR/m. And if there was a case of carriers favoring their own products over direct competitors like Verizon they'd find themselves in court pretty damn soon. Heck, even if they taunt their competitors using names or other similarly identifiable information they'd go to court.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I believe they lost in court, heres the main story but couldn't find conclusion easily. []

  • in the FAQ's it says the app is free but you will use data unless on wifi and the free data is only this weekend
  • Service providers continue to maintain that caps are about congestion and infrastructure. This move proves that the network has plenty of bandwidth and is plenty robust. So when the FCC comes calling they can't use this as an excuse for why they have caps on their "unlimited" plans. This type of thing is very hard to defend logically, but I'm sure they'll find a way to make up something that sounds reasonable.

    And actually caps of any kind can't be justified by network infrastructure since if there's band

    • To the new slashdot owners, when you finally get around to supporting utf-8, how about lengthening the subject line to at least another dozen characters!

      A few months ago, we played around with using the Ampersand character in the subject line. It gets expanded out to 5 or 6 characters in the internal buffer, but still is shown as "&" in the line. It was noticed because someone's post had the maximum length for the subject line, but an & in the middle made it too long in the buffer, so the end of the final word was truncated before being printed.

    • Found it: []

      From almost one year ago.

    • Perhaps they have only a little bit more room, and since their video service is used a little bit, that extra usage will fill in the gap.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This sounds like the differing prices between cash and credit that the credit card companies killed-off a bunch of years ago. Now everyone offers a "cash discount" which evidently does not violate that price-equity law.

    Verizon will find a way to get around it. For example, all they have to do is change their data policy to charge only for data leaving their network, instead of charging for data traversing their wireless networks.

    CAPTCHA: Legalize

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      Don't people realise that if a business accepts a credit card the card company gets somewhere around 2% this is a cost to the business itself unlike sales tax. So say an item costs $100
      that the business would only receive $98 after fees.

      Here it would go
      charge to customer
      item $100
      tax 10% $10
      total $110

      Received by business
      paid in Cash $100
      paid with cc 2% $98

      Now tell me again how it's fair to pay people for their money? It really is a convenience charge shouldn't the customer be payin

      • Of course, when a business accepts a credit card, the funds automatically appear in a bank account. When a customer pays cash, the business must reconcile the receipts to the cash drawer, prepare deposit slips and have someone take the cash to the bank. Or have a armoured car come around to pick up the money. It can be pocketed by a dishonest employee, or taken in a hold-up. All of this costs money too.
    • charge only for data leaving their network, instead of charging for data traversing their wireless networks.

      This is exactly how the backbone is organized and settled. When people mention "settlement free" peering agreements, these are normally just when the data going both ways is about balanced. Every once in awhile one of these agreements gets stressed due to a growing imbalance, several times now due specifically to netflix's at-the-time provider (first when they were with Cogent, second when they were with Level 3, and interestingly that first time the dispute was between Cogent and Level 3) discovering that

  • Cox Communication also has a data cap on their broadband service, but their own video on demand service does not count while Netflix and Amazon do.
    They have been doing it for years and to the best I can tell, nothing has happened.

  • So it sounds like everyone should start streaming Verizon video whenever possible. They don't have to watch it, just do unlimited streaming.

  • When are we going to get bans on data caps? Does the Obama Administration and FCC realize that the very idea of a cap belies the nature of a service which indicates how much data per second they are selling you? Shouldnt my 100 megabits per second be capped at no less than 2,592,000,000,000 bits, a hundred for every second in a 30 day month?
    • "Does the Obama Administration..."

      Yes, they understand that.

      President Obama is invested in the Vanguard 500 Index Fund as one of his largest holdings, apart from bonds and T-bills -- Source: [] -- which in turn is invested in:

      Telecoms: AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., Comcast Corp. Class A
      Oil companies: Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp.
      Pharma companies: Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer Inc., Merck & Co. Inc., Gilead Sciences Inc., Allergan plc, Amgen Inc.,
      Banks: Wel

  • There is no objective difference between, on the one hand, counting towards a cap (beyond which one must pay a surcharge) only data not received from certain stated parties, and on the other, counting towards a cap only data received from certain stated parties. To claim otherwise it to play a transparently absurd word game. It's like claiming that giving a discount on cash purchases of petrol is different to assessing a surcharge on credit purchases.

    • For me the difference comes down to if certain stated parties are limited to properties owned by the ISP. But once extended to properties beyond the control of the ISP, then it's word playing.
  • Perhaps this was written by someone too young to remember 3G video services.

    Strangely enough, Verizon also doesn't charge me for receiving texts from their own customer support center, or "Fortune of the Day" service, or those chintzy CNNgo mobile .3gpp clips back in 2006, or NFL video, or any of the other benefits of cobranded services that carriers have offered. I fail to see how this is any different.

    In fact, this is argueably LESS of an issue than T-Mobile's deal with the video services, simple as a res

  • Anything originating from inside their network should not be counted against the data cap or they would be charging you for something you didn't get. That being Internet data.

    Now, I would be completely against them not applying the data cap to something that actually comes from Internet like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.

  • As someone who supports net neutrality, I'm okay with this. If the agreement is "Pay to have access to our network, plus some internet" that's fine. But the second it would be something like "Pay to have access to our network plus Facebook (or whatever else)" that's not fine. That's against net neutrality.
  • Has FIOS crossed a line?

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!