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Verizon To Throttle High-Bandwidth Users

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the joining-the-club dept.

Network 305

tekgoblin writes "Verizon has enacted a new policy today that allows them to throttle 'high' bandwidth users on their network. We're not sure exactly what 'high' means but it is probably over 2GB of data per month. This comes as the iPhone launches on Verizon's network. The policy is said to only affect the top 5% of data users on the network. When these 5% of users hit the soft limit they will be throttled during peak times of the day. From the note sent to customers: 'Verizon Wireless strives to provide customers the best experience when using our network, a shared resource among tens of millions of customers. To help achieve this, if you use an extraordinary amount of data and fall within the top 5% of Verizon Wireless data users we may reduce your data throughput speeds periodically for the remainder of your then current and immediately following billing cycle to ensure high quality network performance for other users at locations and times of peak demand. Our proactive management of the Verizon Wireless network is designed to ensure that the remaining 95% of data customers aren't negatively affected by the inordinate data consumption of just a few users.'"

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305 comments

Aka: (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35098952)

Also known as: We don't want to look like AT&T when a shit ton of people start using their iPhone on our network.

Re:Aka: (2)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099072)

Also known as: We don't want to look like AT&T when a shit ton of people start using their iPhone on our network.

Since Verizon won't have simultaneous voice and data they probably won't have to worry about repeating AT&T's 'data delivery debacle'. Once their LTE (aka G4'ish) is available to phones (this summer?) it should help speed things along (but they're probably still going to throttle as many people as they can just to make sure 'unlimited data' is only a marketing tool and not an actual product/service).

Re:Aka: (2)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099478)

Except that very few phones use LTE, and nothing that Apple makes uses it. I'm guessing that they're trying to prevent people using a tether as their broadband replacement from sagging their backhaul.

And unlimited is a ruse, just like 4G is a ruse, but we knew that. Upthread they threw out 2G as a cap, but no one has any evidence at all for that, and I frequently go over that amount with impunity on their "unlimited" plan. So, be careful of the rumors you listen to.

Re:Aka: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099668)

Tethering on Verizon is a different and additional plan, last time I tried it on my DroidX and my Blackberry (two different Verizon accounts), I was prompted to that is was $20/month for 2GB and some really high cost per GB after that and I had to accept if i wanted to continue.

Re:Aka: (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099740)

Well, no, not really. You can pay that if you want. Some people root their phones and tether that way. You're did it the 'ethical' way. I'd gladly pay that cost if were offered on my phone.

Re:Aka: (1, Offtopic)

punkin (461807) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099080)

How many people are a shit ton?

Re:Aka: (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099224)

>>How many people are a shit ton?

would you be talking about a metric or english shit ton?

(African or European?)

Maybe it's how I read it, but... (0)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#35098958)

...for a moment there I thought I could finally throw away all my choked-by-terrible-awful-service-provider-asphyxiation pr0n.

Bandwidth, People (1)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35098966)

What we need is to increase the throughput of the internet as a whole by two orders of magnitude. Then, nobody will care what bandwidth you are using. Increasing friction is not the answer. We need to grease the wheels of the internet. Internet2 anyone?

Re:Bandwidth, People (2, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099000)

The problem isn't the protocol, it's wireless bandwidth. Even with better hardware and better compression, there's only so much data you can cram in the airwaves.

Re:Bandwidth, People (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099442)

> there's only so much data you can cram in the airwaves.

And thanks to people like myself who have two options for "broadband" internet (satellite or a cellular modem) more and more of that bandwidth gets sucked up every day as the POTS lines degrade to the point that dial-up isn't even possible.

Re:Bandwidth, People (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099504)

Bullshit. If there's 1000 customers in a given area and you only have 1gig of bandwidth, either give everyone 1mb or less connections or only sell 500 phones with 2mb connections. This idea that any ISP can only pay for 1/100th the bandwidth they actually need, sell all their customers 25mb/sec connections that they know their infrastructure can never support and then when no one can get their advertised speeds blame the problems on the users "over using" the very thing, no, the ONLY THING they actually paid for is absolutely insane.

Imagine if all the car companies started putting 1000hp engines in the cars they sell and advertising their top speed at 200mph all without ever upgrading any of the other components in the car. Then when peoples transmissions failed a week after they bought the car the car company stated that a shameful 5% of their customers were abusing the 1000hp engine and they were going to have to put a strict limit of 25miles of travel per day on the car or the warranty were void. The other 95% of their customers would not be affected by this policy because they'd simply never find out they had been ripped off.

Re:Bandwidth, People (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099576)

If the problem is wireless bandwidth why are wireless companies pushing so hard against network neutrality?

I'm not saying that you are wrong, just pointing out that the anti-network neutrality push is really a push for monopoly rents that has nothing to do with technical limitations.

Re:Bandwidth, People (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099824)

If the problem is wireless bandwidth why are wireless companies pushing so hard against network neutrality?

Cause you're wrong, and the wireless companies are pushing very hard against net neutrality... at least on their wireless devices.

Re:Bandwidth, People (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099662)

Rustbelt telcos did not roll out beyond voice, text and pics. Now their lack of backhaul is starting to show and they are running around blaming users.

Re:Bandwidth, People (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099028)

What we need is to increase the throughput of the internet as a whole by two orders of magnitude. Then, nobody will care what bandwidth you are using. Increasing friction is not the answer. We need to grease the wheels of the internet. Internet2 anyone?

It's not the bandwidth of the internet, it's Verizon's wireless network bandwidth. They are, in fact, increasing this with the next-gen LTE phones, soon to hit the market. Get your facts straight.

Re:Bandwidth, People (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099088)

throughput of the internet

Cell networks aren't the 'Internet.' Verizon isn't going to throttle 5% of 'Internet' users.

This is just reality arriving at the party to disappoint people that actually believed the laws of physics didn't apply to Verizon. iPhone numpties are easy marketing targets.

Get use to it. Verizon has a carefully planned schedule of disappointments that will appear as iPhones degrade their system. That is the only actual difference between Verizon and AT&T; Verizon knows how to manage the problem. AT&T just let everything implode.

Re:Bandwidth, People (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099468)

he was only talking about teh verizon internet not the whole internets.... duh

Re:Bandwidth, People (1)

gollito (980620) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099178)

Increasing the amount of bandwidth just means people will use more of it because it's there. So if it takes them 2 hours to download a movie at max speed just means it would then take them only 1 hour. They'd still be saturating the pipe.

Re:Bandwidth, People (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099322)

The GP post said two orders of magnitude, so that's the difference between 2 hours and just over one minute. Without wanting to sound like I'm saying '640kb should be enough for anybody', there is only so much data one can reasonably consume - if you can download films 100 times faster than you can watch them, you'll only be saturating 1% of the pipe for the duration of the movie (or the entire pipe for 1% of the time, to buffer, and then nothing for the remaining 99%).

To an extent, we would undoubtedly find new data-intensive uses for the bandwidth if it became available, but it does appear that home computing tech is reaching something of a plateau. It might well be the case that a significant enough upgrade really would mean "enough bandwidth for all" rather than just encouraging greater usage.

Re:Bandwidth, People (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099328)

If they hadn't wasted the terabuck the government gave them back in '93 on hookers and blow, we wouldn't have this problem. Especially since the Fed has counterfeited that amount to 3 terabucks by now.

Throttling? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35098972)

Sounds entirely reasonable.

Re:Throttling? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099076)

So they changed the contract on their end, thereby nullifying my end? Oh wait, that not how THEIR "contracts" work. I wonder if the lawyer that added the "we can change anything we want at any time for any reason" clause into the first contract laughed out out, or if it was more evil chuckle.

Re:Throttling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099212)

Caveat emptor. My condolences. Best you can do is cancel your plan without paying a cancellation fee.

Re:Throttling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099218)

Actually Verizon is one of the carriers where this practice (escaping out of the contract) was popularized.

Although, since it's not a rate hike, you might have difficulty arguing your point, unless you have a financial (i.e. business) reason to use additional data. Is this change retroactive or does it only apply to new iPhone buyers?

Re:Throttling? (1)

Elviswind (1959800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099306)

Ummm . . . no. The PDF from Verizon stated, in bold, and as the title of the subsequent paragraph, "If you subscribe to a Data Plan or Feature on February 3, 2011 or after, the following applies:" I'd like to add RTFA, but if you are a Verizon subscriber as implied by your post, apparently you couldn't even be arsed to read an important notice from a company with which you have signed a contract so I suppose it's hopeless.

Re:Throttling? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099146)

Some throttling is reasonable, depending on the implementation. Comcast has one of the better schemes, which throttles in real-time based on demand; heavy downloaders get a lesser priority to 'normal' users, but only when the pipes are actually saturated (or so they say, but it seems to hold up). IMO only the cell carriers can fail so badly as to penalize a person for a full 60 days based on the aggregate bandwidth used. Used 2GB in 1 week? Sorry, you're fucked for the next 53 days! Can't they at least specialize per tower? What if you live in a town of only 100 people? Damn.

Re:Throttling? (1)

gollito (980620) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099228)

The old satellite ISP's did (do?) this. They give you a bucket of bandwidth per day. You could download at full speed until you emptied the bucket at that point it dropped to 56K (brutal). That 56K was a constant and was "filling" the bucket back up all the time. So if you drained your cap quickly, letting it sit there for a couple of hours charged it up enough to get full speed for a while.

I think this is a good solution for ISP's looking to manage their over sold pipes. Just change this to the monthly quotas that many ISP's have done and set a minimum speed that you'll hit when you exhaust your quota that isn't absolutely terrible.

Why do these people keep pushing video?! (3, Insightful)

rta (559125) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099056)

What i don't understand is why the network providers keep pushing mobile video and tethering.

T-mobile is pushing their video chat... Sprint is saying you can upload live video directly to the web etc.

The networks already can't handle the level of data usage they currently get, yet they're pushing these very high bandwidth services. Don't get me wrong, i like that my t-mo G2 with stock firmware can do wifi and USB tethering. But i would also like it if my "4G" phone on the "4G" network got more than 400kbps download rates (in one of their 4G launch cities). If there's any level of adoption of this stuff it'll bring their networks to a halt and not due to any top 5% users.

Re:Why do these people keep pushing video?! (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099110)

What i don't understand is why the network providers keep pushing mobile video and tethering.

Additional fees. Tethering is an extra $20 per month (for 2GB?). I wouldn't be surprised if they eventually offer a 'professional' data plan that doesn't throttle excessive users for an additional fee.

Re:Why do these people keep pushing video?! (1)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099302)

The charge for tethering is such a scam :p

Here in Norway you pay for data and that is that. How you use it doesnt matter as long as it goes through the phone somehow.
Disabling tethering on a phone would cause a major issue here... trying to charge for it would be commercial suicide....

Re:Why do these people keep pushing video?! (2)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099170)

Have you never heard of high performance motor vehicles that can do 200 miles per hour or more, far in excess of the speed limit. Much the same as any product with hyped up performance, it is all about the inflated profit margin.

Of course make any attempt to use that performance and you are immediately penalised. In the case of bandwidth marketing, it has always been a lie, since dial up modems, companies always selling far more than they can actually provide.

Blaming the customer for product failure, has always been a corporate PR=B$ standard when misrepresenting what a product can actually do. In this case it is the customers fault for attempting to use their connection in exactly the way it was advertised.

Re:Why do these people keep pushing video?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099232)

Yeah...and when you buy one and take it to a race track it CAN do 200 mph ore more!! To keep the car analogy this is buying a car that can do 200mph, taking it to the track and it caps out at 65 because it's missing a cylinder due to them running out of engine parts and it being "too expensive" to build more.

Re:Why do these people keep pushing video?! (1)

Elviswind (1959800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099250)

Wireless providers are judged by investors on subscriber churn. They'll say whatever they have to and come up with whatever promotions they have to to always have more people signing up than are leaving. If that means pushing services that your network couldn't handle if more people use them than you predict, so be it. That said, a friend of mine, with mathematics and computer science masters degrees works for a wireless provider and spends his days managing a team that predicts what the business impact of decisions like this will be. Based on my discussions with him, I'm sure wireless providers have a very good model for how many people will actually be regularly using these high bandwidth services. Based on this announcement, it sure seems that at this time Verizon isn't able to achieve a high enough ROIC from building out their network capability to support the needs of the highest 5% of users.

Why don't carriers just use these exact terms? (2)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099082)

Most people understand that there's not enough licensed RF spectrum to let millions of users treat their cell phone as if it were a portable 20 Mb/sec cable connection running uTorrent and Netflix 24/7 at 100% saturation. So why don't the carriers advertise their service with a flat rate, but with terms like "3 Mb/s for the first 2 GB transferred per billing period, 500 kb/s for the next 2 GB, and 128 kb/s after that"?

Seems this would allow them to stick to the spirit of the law when it comes to "unlimited" service offers, while keeping the network from being either too congested or too expensive.

Re:Why don't carriers just use these exact terms? (3, Funny)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099114)

I'm the CEO of Verizon Wireless. I'm intrigued by your idea. Just one question: how does your plan make us more money?

Re:Why don't carriers just use these exact terms? (1)

gollito (980620) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099244)

How does throttling make them more money? It doesn't but it keeps the customer there and happy. "My connection is slow, oh hey I just went over my initial usage limit and I am stepped down to the next speed"

Sounds reasonable to me

Re:Why don't carriers just use these exact terms? (2)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099344)

I'm the CEO of Verizon Wireless. I'm intrigued by your idea. Just one question: how does your plan make us more money?

Satisfied customers who think you're better than your competition would be a good start. That's if long-term viability and profitability is something you want to cultivate. Otherwise, go ahead and screw them over as much as you can to pad this quarter's results, then watch them jump ship at the first opportunity.

Re:Why don't carriers just use these exact terms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099498)

By avoiding class action suits for not delivering the exact service you promised customers.

At the very least, customers can use undisclosed throttling to get out of their contracts.

Re:Why don't carriers just use these exact terms? (4, Interesting)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099162)

Most people understand that there's not enough licensed RF spectrum to let millions of users treat their cell phone as if it were a portable 20 Mb/sec cable connection running uTorrent and Netflix 24/7 at 100% saturation. So why don't the carriers advertise their service with a flat rate, but with terms like "3 Mb/s for the first 2 GB transferred per billing period, 500 kb/s for the next 2 GB, and 128 kb/s after that"?

Seems this would allow them to stick to the spirit of the law when it comes to "unlimited" service offers, while keeping the network from being either too congested or too expensive.

Better would be a burst-allowance: 3MB/s for the first 10 MB in a minute, then 500kbps for the next 10 MB, then 128kbps after that. This would allow fast response for short queries, and not shortchange the guy who does 2GB in the first two days of the month, and then just intermittent web browsing for the rest of the month. It also shapes the traffic better, because he's not swamping the network during those first two days.

Re:Why don't carriers just use these exact terms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099378)

You should work for the CRTC!

Re:Why don't carriers just use these exact terms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099454)

Fuck you. Comcast's 'PowerBoost' was the worst technology ever invented.

Re:Why don't carriers just use these exact terms? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099826)

So then Netflix or any other streaming video is now totally worthless. Thanks.

Re:Why don't carriers just use these exact terms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099180)

Because people are too stupid to realize or parse those exact terms. They just know "three torrents man", etc, they hardly understand the volume they use.

Re:Why don't carriers just use these exact terms? (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099216)

Most people understand that there's not enough licensed RF spectrum

"Most people" don't know what "the licensed RF spectrum" means, much less understand its limitations.

They just know they paid for one thing and are going to get something less. I guarantee there are new Verizon iPhone users who believe they have "unlimited" plans.

Re:Why don't carriers just use these exact terms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099582)

I personally enjoy my dual band frequency hopping full duplex spread spectrum radio. What are you talking about ?

Re:Why don't carriers just use these exact terms? (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099260)

They just announced their plans publicly. That's not good enough?

Re:Why don't carriers just use these exact terms? (1)

kiveya (1864740) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099394)

>> "Most people understand that there's not enough licensed RF spectrum..."

I think "most" don't understand, and it would be my wager why providers aren't using phrases like "RF spectrum" and "3 Mb/s for the first 2 GB transferred per billing period".

Providers actually do know people are dumb and frightened by complicated explanations and technical jargon. I know because I've had to teach customer service training classes to prepare tech support Reps how to *not* use technical words and phrase when explaining problems to customers because they inevitably lead to frustration, confusion, and irate customers. That's right, *training* in order to dumb things down for customers. This is a real job.

When you're smart, you're inclined to think most other people are sort of smart too, more or less. Truth is a LOT of people barely understand how an internal combustion engine works, much less how the magical internet gets to their phone, their PC, their Xbox, and whatever else shiny gadget they are told to buy. Don't believe me? Go to a store or mall with a clipboard and ask people "What is a gigabyte?" and/or "How does wifi work?" People don't care or understand how most modern devices work, as long as it *does* work.

Re:Why don't carriers just use these exact terms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099484)

Most people on /. -may- understand this, but 90% of the population does not. Perhaps carriers shouldn't advertise their 20Mb/sec download speeds in their 'unlimited' plans thereby creating the expectaion that these speeds are available 24/7?

2GB is far too little for "unlimited" (4, Interesting)

gstovall (22014) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099550)

My wife purchased her Droid Incredible from Verizon last summer. She is totally thrilled with it and her unlimited data plan. With it, she is able to look up facts and answer questions where ever she is. It has proven to be a real assist.

She uses it to listen to Pandora while she is at work. Her employer allows 0 bandwidth for personal uses, so she spends the entire 8 hours per day listening to Pandora on 3G.

At 128Kbps, 8hours/day * 22 days per month works out to 10GB/month, and that is just listening to music, not watching any video or doing any web browsing.

2GB/month is totally inadequate for anything but browser lookups. It is not sufficient for any of the media-rich apps for which Verizon advertised the device.

Re:2GB is far too little for "unlimited" (2)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099758)

Perhaps you should purchase your wife an mp3 player and cheap speakers. Better sound and won't be contributing to the problem. Sucking up bandwidth just to have music playing seems a little much.

Re:2GB is far too little for "unlimited" (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099784)

On the flip side, unless you stream audio/video, it's really hard to hit 2GB. I'm on the iPhone 200MB plan with AT&T (in my area I get great service, fwiw). Except one month I was out of town, I've never been over 80MB in a month, and I use my phone for work and personal stuff. Of course, I have wifi at home and at the office (though I have a PC at the office, so rarely use data svcs there anyway). Facebook, email (2 accounts, ~100 emails a day), calendaring, evernote, looking up small (1MB) PDF files on the work server while at client sites, occasional mapping (I have a GPS in my car).

Not including streaming, I'm amazed that people manage to rack up 2GB/mo - you'd have to use in a single day what I use in an average month of daily usage. Even for audio/video, I've got about 25GB of music and video on my phone, accessible even when I'm not "on the cloud". If I'm going somewhere, I check off a couple of podcasts before I leave. When I was out every day, the phone would just sync up my "usual" podcasts the night before.

It's probably the 24/7 streamer that makes AT&T service such a clusterfuck in big cities. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

Re:2GB is far too little for "unlimited" (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099796)

That's a pretty stupid waste of bandwidth, if Pandora is sending out 128 kb/s streams. They could achieve near-lossless quality at around 32 kb/s with state-of-the-art codecs.

So that would keep the use case you mention down to around 2.5 G/month, just by itself.

Dropping back to 96 kb/s would allow Pandora to run indefinitely at the lowest rate I mentioned.

It is not sufficient for any of the media-rich apps for which Verizon advertised the device.

True enough. Continuous hi-def video streaming to mass-market mobile users? Forget it. It can't be done and it should be illegal for any carrier to imply that it can.

Why can't operators let customers decide? (2)

Sean (422) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099136)

Have two queues: Low latency and Bulk. Use the ToS field is decide which one to put it in. Give customers two quotas, say 2gb bulk and 500mb low latency. Charge more for extra low latency traffic and less for extra bulk traffic. Don't use IP addresses, transport protocols or port numbers to decide what is real time and what is bulk. That would be a fair system for making the best use of limited network resources.

Re:Why can't operators let customers decide? (1, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099230)

That would be a fair system for making the best use of limited network resources.

The only "fair" system would be for them to charge by the megabyte.

The entire fee structure is based on the idea of people not knowing what they're actually paying for.

A better choice (1)

Maalstrom Aran (889627) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099150)

This seems like a much better choice for bandwidth management than the UBB BS that is happening. Until the infrastructure catches up with video demand I can understand a little of sacrifice for other people.

Thinng the herd? (3, Insightful)

creativeHavoc (1052138) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099182)

Assuming usage stays fairly constant for each user per month... wont think eventually bring down their average usage over time? The first month, top 5% are scaled back, and you assume as the throttling continues into the next month, they will no longer be the top users. So then there is a new top 5%... and these users are using less than what last month's top 5% used... as they get carried over in the next billing cycle, this continues until it hits some threshold...

Re:Thinng the herd? (2)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099524)

I'll be curious to see how forthcoming Verizon is about your "throttled" state. The reason is that most press reports, regarding the iPhone, talk about how Verizon is about half the speed of AT&T's network. When someone gets throttled (and doesn't know it), they'll be howling to the Internet about how Verizon's network is really really really slow.

Re:Thinng the herd? (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099822)

Since the avenue for venting about the iPhone is always at AT&T, it'll also be interesting to see if a lot of the same problems occur under Verizon.

iPhone (5, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099184)

iPhone went on sale today with unlimited data and tethering. A few hours late we learn that Verizon will be throttling bandwidth. If this is not bait and switch, unethical advertising, and intent to deceive the consumer I don't know what it.

Look at this way. Verizon is already giving the user a slower data rate than iPhone users have come to expect. Now they are saying if you use 'too much' as defined by them, you may be effectively cut off. After all, the definition of 'too much' and 'throttling' is defined completely by Verizon. Previously 'too much' was 150 MB, and who knows what throttling is. Maybe Edge?

This reinforces my previous expectation that though Verizon has the best network in the US, they will never give the average customer a square deal or straight answer.

Re:iPhone (2, Insightful)

GayBliss (544986) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099264)

Is Verizon advertising a guaranteed bandwidth? I haven't seen one. They're not cutting off service, but throttling it to a lower speed. It's still unlimited. This is exactly what Telefonica in Spain does and I think it's a good idea. Instead of charging you some huge rate past a certain limit that you may not know you passed, they just reduce the speed. It still works at the slower speed (although streaming video might not work so well), and it only affects those customers that are streaming audio or video very often.

Re:iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099408)

I haven't read the contract for Verizon's data plan, but does it state a specific bandwidth for users? From what I'm reading, Verizon just states they will throttle bandwidth, not cut off users. The average user will not be affected by this, its really going to fall into the highest bandwidth users who are very likely relying on this residential wireless plan for business purposes or as the sole communication hub for television, internet, phone, and music and run it 24/7. I'm not really sure Verizon is wrong here.

Re:iPhone (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099812)

Well, sort of. They didn't announce pricing - everyone just assumed that all the services would be free. Tethering is an extra $20. For that $20, you only get 2GB of data to the tethered devices. It's only the internal usage that is "unlimited".

I mean, if you want to argue it, technically Verizon's internet isn't unlimited to begin with - you can only get 24x31x3600x()kbps per month - which isn't unlimited even if you got 10Mbps.

They saw AT&T take it up the rear by not limiting 24/7 streamers; they're not going to repeat that mistake.

Not enough RF? (1)

grikdog (697841) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099188)

So why not run fiberglass cable from tower to tower, and increase the number of towers? I run a Verizon Wireless hot spot (5 connections at home), but I'm not wedded to the plan I've got (5 GB per billing cycle, which is nothing like 24/7 unlimited). There needs to be a little Federal oversight of these practices. Or a lot of Federal oversight...

Re:Not enough RF? (2)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099402)

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think "I know, I'll use regular expressions." Now they have two problems.

(Jamie Zawinski, maybe?)

Anyway, you might be wondering why I would put that there. And that is because you wrote this:

There needs to be a little Federal oversight of these practices. Or a lot of Federal oversight...

Now you have two problems.

It's not so much that the phone companies are such great stewards of our spectrum that they don't need oversight or regulation, but moreso that there is already a lot of oversight, and it seems to be accomplishing only one thing: keeping the existing carriers entrenched as virtually unassailable monopolies. Any regulatory scheme you can propose to fix things must address that, and have some measures in place to prevent or mitigate the possibility of "regulatory capture" as it relates to the public's interest in the regulation of the carriers.

Re:Not enough RF? (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099798)

Huh? Are you suggesting that the Fed's begin to tell private companies they must improve and expand their services to meet a need? That is exactly what a free market does without the Feds. You want government to start controlling (or forcing) bandwidth? Oh boy!

advertising reality (4, Insightful)

Golden_Rider (137548) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099210)

What I never understand is how all those companies can get away with showing ads with happy people who use tons of video streaming, internet radio/music/video download shops and other highish bandwidth stuff, claim "sign up here and enjoy all these awesome things!", when the reality is that if you actually DO use all this stuff every day, you are told to stop doing that because you are an asocial bandwidth hog.

Either advertise it and let people do it, or don't advertise it. And especially do not advertise it if you know from the start that it is not technically possible for lots of people to use these options because your network is not good enough.

People should work the system (1)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099320)

"The policy is said to only affect the top 5% of data users on the network."

So, if every data customer bands together and chips in an additional ~5.3% of their plan to buy "dummy" plans, they can then set up these 5% of phones to waste ungodly amounts of bandwidth, guaranteeing that these dummy plans get throttled, thereby saving the remaining real users from experiencing any throttling.

I'm sure that's not a ToS violation...

Re:People should work the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099448)

They probably mean what their current 5% use, not 5% each month. If everyone started trying to max their connection 24/7, 100% would get throttled once they hit that magic (hidden) threshold. Of course this is just a guess.

5%? (5, Insightful)

cshake (736412) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099326)

5% - It seems small at first, but when you realize that they have 94.1 million subscribers in the US [wikipedia.org], that's 4.7 million people they're throttling. If they identify that number of people as using "extraordinary amount[s] of data", I'd say that there's a more fundamental problem here.

And note the part where you get throttled for your entire next billing cycle too.

I'm not a Verizon subscriber, and I still use a "dumb" phone without a data plan, but this still seems that they need to change what they're offering up front instead of giving everything and then taking it back if you dare use it.

Re:5%? (1)

Wizarth (785742) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099712)

Converting the 5% to 4.7m people is an excellent point. 5% seems reasonable, but when there are 4.7 m "excessive users", that's a LOT of people who won't be getting what they paid for. 4.7m isn't a statistical blip or rare case.

2gb a month. $30 a month data plan. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099342)

Fifteen bucks a gig? And the USERS are the bad guys here?

Recursive self-limiting (1)

DesertNomad (885798) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099348)

Nice idea, and one that is auto-ratcheting, with the ultimate effect to drive data volumes down all across the subscriber base. This month, the top 5% get throttled. Next month, the next lower volume tier may now define the top 5%, and that gets throttled. Ultimately, data volumes approach zero, and someone still gets throttled because there's always a top 5% who are the worst. And all along, Verizon can claim it's only the worst bandwidth users getting punished. It's like the system we use here at work to get rid of the low performers... There's always a bottom 10%!

Translated the crappy service will get worse! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099386)

Bloody hell! I'm already dealing with a 5 gig cap and now they want to throttle me???? I rarely watch even short videos to keep within my 5 gig cap. Software and OS updates and light surfing burns up 5 gig a month. Because of the new iPhone users I have to deal with throttling? My area lacks high speed so I'm stuck using a Verizon Mifi for my internet service. My last place had super fast cable so it's been painful enough. If they can't deliver what they promised then are they going to cut my rates??? The idea that 95% use less than 2 gig is laughable. Basically all they are prepared to service is light smart phone surfing. By adding Mifi and iPhone they maxed their system and now the users get to pay the price.

Welcome to Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099406)

Just wait USA, 1st it starts with your cell phone, then it will move up to your hardwired service. We are almost at the point of having to pay $3 per gigabyte on our hardwired DSL/Cable lines.

Soon there will be no such thing as unlimited bandwidth here, and everything will be user based billing per GB.

Not a problem for new customers (1)

trollertron3000 (1940942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099428)

Honestly I'm having a hard time finding fault with this so long as it's spelled out in advance in the contract that one agrees to. The problem is springing this after the fact.

Re:Not a problem for new customers (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099820)

Agreed. Problem is with most contracts where you are at the mercy of the company (take it or leave it contracts), they usually put in little clauses that say, "terms, limits, bandwidth, features, and functions are subject to change without notice. We can screw with you and you can really do a thing except leave in the middle of a 2 year contract and fork over tons of money to us." (I'm making this up...don't critique the exact wording...just the concept)

I don't have a problem with that (1)

mrjatsun (543322) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099446)

As long as they clearly define:
      o exactly when customers will be throttled
      o exactly how much customers will be throttled
      o allow customers to see how much they been throttled for each month
      o allow customers to opt out of their contract without penalty if they don't
            agree to the change

Seems perfectly reasonable if they did that.... Not holding my breath :-)

Re:I don't have a problem with that (1)

DJ Particle (1442247) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099556)

Yeah, the biggest problem I see with this is that pre-order people have already committed themselves to contract *before* this news came out.

"money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099590)

and it just happens to also make us more money. But it's really about service, not money . . . for reals.

T-Mobile (2)

ZosX (517789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099592)

I'm reading this while downloading a windows 7 iso over my G1's 3g connection at 4mbps. The image is well over 2 gigs. No caps for me. :)

Just a stop-gap measure, right? (3, Funny)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099608)

I mean, they are having a massive upgrade to their infrastructure to handle their customers properly, right? Surely they don't expect to add many more customers with increasing bandwidth demands without upgrading their infrastructure.

Let's MATH! (1)

NemosomeN (670035) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099624)

Alright, so tens of millions? Let's be nice and say by "tens" they meant "ten". 10,000,000 x .05 = 500,000. So at a bare minimum, assuming they are stretching, they are going to throttle for 500,000 people. Now for some Google-fu, looks like Verizon is at about 92,000,000 customers. They plan to throttle 4,600,000 users, with a throttle that lasts over a month, regardless of changes in behavior.

"Verizon" != "Verizon Wireless" (2)

Evro (18923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099636)

Just sayin'. Verizon has lots of home users at 25/15 Mbps down/up, I hope they aren't throttling us to 2 GB/month.

I dont get this . (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099678)

if i PAY for something, i expect to be able to USE it.

if you sell/rent a car to me, and then tell me that i can not use it on mondays, i shove the keys up your ass. if you drop a shady clause in the contract saying that you can modify the terms of the contract at any point at your leisure, then do the mondays thing after that, i still shove up the keys up your ass.

so at this point, i am at a loss to understand, how can american corporations violate the very BASE mechanics of trade and business, and get away with it.

Re:I dont get this . (1)

_0rm_ (1638559) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099748)

Simple. It's America, where the people don't give a fuck because they don't know better and corporations do everything they can to line their pockets. Where scientists and researchers get discredited by the elite because the findings of the scientist don't serve the ends of the politician. Where complete fuck-heads work in sales 75% of the time. (Thankfully the company I work for falls in that 25% where the sales guys leave the programmers the fuck alone.) No, I'm not bitter. Why would you think that?

Why not just divide datarate evenly among users? (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099770)

The "throttling" approach strikes me a bogus.

Most of the problem occurs at "the edge". (And if it's congested in "the core" you need more core.) So why not just divide the instantaneous bandwidth evenly among all users?

With this approach the high-usage users are not throttled when they're not interfering with other users when the edge is not congested, and get no more than an equal share with the intermittent users when it is congested.

Verizon Math (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35099788)

When they say 5%, isn't it possible they mean .05%?

Déjà vu (1)

lw7av (1734012) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099804)

This is already being done by ISPs in Australia. I'm a 10GB per day user on a 12GB monthly plan. It sucks.
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