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FiOS User Finds Limit of 'Unlimited' Data Plan: 77 TB/Month

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the go-big-or-go-home dept.

Verizon 573

An anonymous reader writes "A California user of Verizon's FiOS fiber-optic internet service put his unlimited data plan to the test. Over the month of March, he totaled over 77 terabytes of internet traffic, which finally prompted a call from a Verizon employee to see what he was doing. The user had switched to a 300Mbps/65Mbps plan in January, and averaged 50 terabytes of traffic per month afterward. 'An IT professional who manages a test lab for an Internet storage company, [the user] has been providing friends and family a personal VPN, video streaming, and peer-to-peer file service—running a rack of seven servers with 209TB of raw storage in his house.' The Verizon employee who contacted him said he was violating the service agreement. "Basically he said that my bandwidth usage was excessive (like 30,000 percent higher than their average customer)," [the user] said. '[He] wanted to know WTF I was doing. I told him I have a full rack and run servers, and then he said, "Well, that's against our ToS." And he said I would need to switch to the business service or I would be disconnected in July. It wasn't a super long call.'"

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573 comments

Sounds reasonable to me. (5, Insightful)

marklark (39287) | about a year ago | (#43812677)

'nuf said.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (0)

liamevo (1358257) | about a year ago | (#43812719)

Why offer that much throughput then complain when people actually make good use of it.
If you want people to buy business lines, make it competitive with your home accounts.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (5, Insightful)

2starr (202647) | about a year ago | (#43812789)

There's a big difference between sporadically using high amounts of data and continually using high amounts of data.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43813049)

there is? then why doesn't the company just say that?

Instead they're still screwing around with word games.

i have no sympathy for them. they can rot in hell.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (5, Insightful)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#43813147)

If I understood correctly the problem was not necessarily that he used too much bandwidth. The high bandwidth usage just made them interested in knowing what he was doing. Try leaving your taps open and soon the utility company will call you and ask you what you're doing. In this case it sounded like the ToS specified that you were not allowed to run racks with servers, and that the business plan should be used for such usage.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (5, Informative)

iamhassi (659463) | about a year ago | (#43812847)

Why offer that much throughput then complain when people actually make good use of it.
If you want people to buy business lines, make it competitive with your home accounts.

perhaps you didn't read the summary. He has a 300Mbps/65Mbps plan (300 megabit/65megabit = 37.5 megabyte/8 megabyte). He used 77 terabytes in a month. Most people only has 1 to 4 terabyte hard drives in their home computers. He used 77 terabytes. That would fill the entire hard drive of the average home computer about 50 times, and he did that in a month. Excessive much? Yes.

According to Math, 37.5 megabytes a second is 3.2 terabytes a day, so he had to be running full bandwidth for 24 days straight. Pretty sure all of our ISPs would be calling us if they noticed we were downloading at full speed for 24 days straight.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (3, Funny)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#43812853)

In other news, I bet the guy's pr0n collection is stupendous!

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43812939)

In other news, I bet the guy's pr0n collection is stupendous!

Well so is mine, yours, and everyone else's on the Internet given the amount of free pr0n out there. That doesn't mean we need a local backup of it all. ;)

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (3, Insightful)

div_2n (525075) | about a year ago | (#43812963)

Consumers don't generally pay for dedicated bandwidth. Even most small business plans don't cover guaranteed dedicated bandwidth. You are paying for "on demand" bandwidth instead of "always on, always using at full speed" bandwidth.

If you DID pay for the guaranteed bandwidth, the cost would be higher because you would essentially be paying for the cost of running one very long patch cable to your provider's backbone. What you're really paying for is shared bandwidth with other customers. Small business customers usually pay higher which means that their traffic will typically get higher priority in the event of network congestion and they get first attention during outages.

The only way a provider can make money is to oversell their bandwidth. Unless you are Google and you are making money in other ways with the provided connection. Even in the case of bundled services (i.e. IPTV, VOIP, etc.) the margins most likely aren't enough to provide full speed CIR to each residential customer.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#43812975)

If you are a rock climber, do you buy a rope that is rated for your body weight, or do you get one rated for multiple times your body weight?

As a home user, having the throughput is useful for the occasional splurge. Say backup your PC to a friends PC, while watching movies. However that is different then a constant load of data on the network.

The pricing of your internet connection is based on the idea you will not use it all. So you can share with others. If you just go nuts on it you will get a call because you are just being greedy.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (5, Insightful)

tofarr (2467788) | about a year ago | (#43813037)

Why offer an all you can eat buffet and then complain when somebody tries to stay at a table for days on end?

Any sane individual realises "all you can eat" means "all you can eat within reason".

Same principal with unlimited data. (Unlimited within reason).

IMHO, the ISP acted well above and beyond the call of duty here, giving hum until July to find an alternative rather than simply saying "We don't want your business - as a customer you cost us more than we could possibly make from you in profit."

PS: I am loath to praise any ISP given that I hate mine with the fire of a thousand suns, but have no other choice. I am really surprised he got 72 terabytes out of them - I mean compared to mine they look like saints...

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43813141)

Every all-you-can-eat buffet has fine print at the door that limits how much time you have to eat.

Likewise, Verizon's TOS says, "No servers on a residential account."

When Comcast bills me extra because I watched too much Netflix, that's an entirely different story.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43813219)

"All you can eat", not "You eat All"

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (-1, Troll)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43813047)

this guy was running a server in violation of the TOS
he was running VPN services for people as well as sharing out movies

he had a rack, real servers and terabytes of storage in the house
someone with no life

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about a year ago | (#43813121)

In general the expectation is that internet client use will be bursty. When I want to move data I want it as fast as I can but that doesn't mean i'm going to be anywhere close to maxing out my internet connection 24/7. Having to buy connections priced on the assumption that they would be heavilly loaded 24/7 would make fast connections crazy expensive.

"unlimited" home internet connections are kinda like "all you can eat" buffets.

At an all you can eat buffet there is no direct limit on how much food you are allowed to eat but there are other rules that practically limit what you can eat. For example there is usually a maximum ammount of time you can stay and a rule that you can't take food away, a rule that everyone in the group has to pay and a rule that taking food out is forbidden. If they think you are consuming an ammount of food that would be impractical if you are following the rules they are going to investigate further.

Similarly an unlimited home internet connection, particaully one with a very high peak bandwidth will typically have rules that are designed to restrict users to normal client usage and if they think you are using an ammount of traffic that would be impractical with normal client usage they are going to investigate further.

A buisness connection has less rules on how you can use it and as a result they expect you to use more traffic and hence charge you a higher price and/or put explicit limits in place.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (4, Informative)

mattventura (1408229) | about a year ago | (#43813195)

In TFS, it makes it seem like Verizon complained to him because he was running servers which are generally against the ToS of residential plans, rather than the excessive bandwidth usage. The excessive usage may have been what triggered the phone call (so they could figure out what was actually going on), but it was ToS violations that were the issue at hand.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (5, Informative)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#43812777)

Yep. Running servers is against Verizon's residential ToS. Regardless of how much BW the guy is using, he's breaking the rules.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (5, Insightful)

BitwiseX (300405) | about a year ago | (#43813097)

Yep. Running servers is against Verizon's residential ToS. Regardless of how much BW the guy is using, he's breaking the rules.

BINGO!
Another misleading Slashdot title. This is fairly run of the mill for residential ISP service. I bet it was a short conversation! They called him to try to find out if he was doing anything against their ToS, because of his bandwidth usage, and he flat out admitted it.
If he had answered "Netflix" (and that was believable), would the conversation have gone differently? Hard to say, because that conversation didn't even happen.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (1, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#43812819)

Reasonable, yes. Sucking down that much bandwidth is well over the usage rate for most businesses, let alone consumers.

OTOH, if Verizon advertised it as unlimited, they (barring any fine print) do have to shut up and provide it. The only loophole I think they can use is that family/friends VPN thing the dude was doing, but otherwise? They either provide it, or they shut the guy off and risk a false advertising lawsuit.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (5, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | about a year ago | (#43812947)

OTOH, if Verizon advertised it as unlimited, they (barring any fine print) do have to shut up and provide it

The fine print isn't about the bandwidth amount - its what he's doing to generate it. He openly admitted he was running servers on it. That doesn't work with the residential terms of service.

Now, that's something that they probably wouldn't nitpick on if the bandwidth usage wasn't so extreme, but you have to expect when you get that specific on the letter of the contract ("This is my bandwidth and I'm gonna use it!") then they're going to in turn do the same. Running servers means he's out.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43813065)

The contract said, no servers. He put a server up. So he violated the contract. It's that easy.

If instead he had downloaded 77 terabytes of movies, he would not have violated his contract (unless it was illegal downloads, I guess), and then FiOS would have been wrong to demand him to switch to business service.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43813135)

Regardless of his hosting of servers, the plan isn't an unlimited plan and I guarantee you that the ToS has provisions for excessive bandwidth use. It may not say how much is excessive but it most certainly has a clause that allows them to shut you off for what *they* deem to be excessive.

Unless Verizon fucked up on their ads I guarantee you that this plan was not ever called an 'unlimited' plan of any sort.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#43813215)

If the ToS actually had restrictions on bandwidth I can bet they would have shut him down long before he reached this amount. Unless someone actually finds the ToS and where it says how much you're allowed to use I can't see any reason why there would exist such clause. From what I know it sounds like the plan was actually unlimited.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43813095)

He was using that much bandwidth by providing VPN servers. Servers are not allowed under consumer plans(because you can do shit like rack up 70+ TB a month). He was therefore in violation of ToS. He broke the rules, not them. And they were polite about it. Verizon is being pretty damn good about this.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (2, Interesting)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | about a year ago | (#43813169)

From the conversation, they were looking for a reason to shut his service down, but until he said he was running a server, they didn't have reason. This is one of those times when shutting up would have been better.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me. (5, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | about a year ago | (#43813107)

It sounds like the objection was that he ran servers, the bandwidth thing was merely the trigger to ask.

I'm baffled ISPs still think "servers" are something that needs banning. Reminds me of when so many clueless ISPs banned NAT (or rather connection sharing between multiple PCs in general.)

Misleading Title (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43812689)

FiOS user finds how to violate TOS

Re:Misleading Title (5, Informative)

homey of my owney (975234) | about a year ago | (#43812831)

Right. In fact the user did not find what the title claims. He found the point at which they would ask WTF. And it turns out TF was that he was doing something the TOS said he couldn't. Nice job misleading.

Re:Misleading Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43812979)

I think the guy should be in the clear. He obviously wasn't running a commercial or industrial service. He was skirting the border there, but he didn't cross it. The summary at least does not imply he was charging for use of his servers to the friends and families and personal use.

He is not a customer that an ISP wants, but everyone gets customers like that. They should turn this around and say, "Hey, look at what you can do with our service. You can run servers for your own data and be faster than other commercial services.*"

*Only good for non-commercial uses.

Re:Misleading Title (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#43813051)

Right. In fact the user did not find what the title claims. He found the point at which they would ask WTF. And it turns out TF was that he was doing something the TOS said he couldn't. Nice job misleading.

Do Verizon care if you run a piddly little server that doesn't even use 1GB/month? No. They cared because he used 77TB, himself admitting to violating the ToS was just a free confession they could hang him by. If he'd said "none of your business" they'd just have to search the ToS a little harder, you're confusing the ends with the means.

Re:Misleading Title (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#43813161)

Right. In fact the user did not find what the title claims. He found the point at which they would ask WTF. And it turns out TF was that he was doing something the TOS said he couldn't. Nice job misleading.

Um... not quite. It was the uncharacteristic bandwidth that lead to the admission by the user that he was running servers. Verizon had no clue about that up until that point. Besides, server usage would be affecting the upload bandwidth moreso than the download bandwidth.

Sweet (5, Interesting)

bhlowe (1803290) | about a year ago | (#43812711)

So switch to the business plan. Jeeze, still a super deal. I have Comcast business and its worth the extra $50/mo for static IPs and much higher bandwidth.

Re:Sweet (2)

Assmasher (456699) | about a year ago | (#43812973)

Exactly, I get 100 mbps, unlimited, and static IP for $122/month (that's a good price in my area.)

Re:Sweet (5, Interesting)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year ago | (#43813077)

If only it was always that easy. Comcrap put me on 6 months of "probation" a couple years ago. "You're moving too much data. If you don't stay below 250 gigs per month, we're shutting off your service and blacklisting you for a year." This was their first contact so I figured no biggie. Let's just switch me to a business account. What's the monthly limit on those. "I don't have information on business plans but you can't switch because you're on probation. Call back in six months."

That's when I realized ISPs don't want you to pay for the data you move. They want you to pay for data you don't move. They want a bunch of octogenarians who fire up the computer once a week to check their email for pics of the grandkids.

They quietly stopped enforcing the 250 gig cap around the time my probation was up so I'm back to my old patterns on the normal residential account. If they'd been smart enough to let me switch to business class service instead of spanking me like a child, they would have been collecting more money all this time.

First Post! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43812717)

Oh yeah

but the sign says all you can eat (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43812733)

Arrr, tis no man but a remorseless downloading machine.

should of just told him... (4, Funny)

kcmastrpc (2818817) | about a year ago | (#43812741)

netflix.

On the other hand... (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#43812747)

User violates ToS and gets called on it. This is news?

Now, if he had NOT been running all those services for friends, if he himself just liked to stream 200 different movies on his 30 TVs, and download copious quantities of non-copyright infringing torrents for his "library", maybe that would be a different story.

Re:On the other hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43812915)

The reason he got slapped for a ToS violation is because he said "server" while talking to a rep. If you even let slip that you're running a "server" OS, they'll read you the riot act about how it's not allowed and how you could be disconnected over it. They are trained that "server" = "bad", and there's no talking to them once that word comes up. Try it and see.

Re:On the other hand... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#43813181)

The reason he got slapped for a ToS violation is because he said "server" while talking to a rep ... They are trained that "server" = "bad", and there's no talking to them once that word comes up.

They are probably trained that running a server on a HOME account is almost always contrary to the terms that the user agreed to when signing up for the HOME plan...

I can't wait for FiOS to come to my area, right now I have Comcast Business at my home because I wish to run a server for various purposes (nope, I let Google handle my domain email, though there are other options). Comcast has ZERO issues with my usage becasues - guess what? - I'm not violating the ToS since I have a BUSINESS plan.

Re:On the other hand... (3, Insightful)

tippe (1136385) | about a year ago | (#43813191)

No, violating the ToS isn't newsworthy in itself, but the way in which he did it certainly is. I find it incredible that someone was actually able to consume 77TB of bandwidth in a month on a residential connection. That would have been inconceivable even a short while ago. Maybe in a couple of years this sort of thing will become mundane, but at the moment it's quite impressive regardless of how it was done, and certainly deserves to be mentioned on a site that supposedly caters to nerds.

Maybe you just aren't nerdy enough to appreciate this and should hand in your nerd card.

I suppose it's also possible that you are some sort of super-nerd that does this kind of thing regularly and has become so jaded that you won't be impressed until someone streams petabytes of data to their smart watch in less than 10 minutes. If true, prove it, then I'll hand you my nerd card...

Think of Verizon's position (4, Interesting)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#43812749)

I think "WTF are you doing consuming 77 terabits a month" is a legitimate question. I read TFA yesterday and I realized that Verizon probably can't afford to have a whole lot of users chewing up that kind of bandwidth. Asking him to switch to business service does not out of line to me, considering that he's running these servers for business use.

Note, also, they handled this with a short phone call rather than a nasty-gram or just cutting off his service without warning. That's more courtesy than I'd expect from a big ISP, given some of the horror stories I've heard.

Re:Think of Verizon's position (-1, Troll)

KiloByte (825081) | about a year ago | (#43812817)

Yes, but if you don't allow such kind of usage, don't advertise it as unlimited. So in my book, it's Verizon who's wrong here.

Re:Think of Verizon's position (5, Informative)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#43812937)

The ToS for residential service forbids running of servers. He was violating the ToS. Sure, he got noticed because he was using a lot of data. But that isn't why they are terminating service.

Re:Think of Verizon's position (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#43812967)

They didn't say they don't allow that kind of usage. They said they don't allow servers (it's right in the TOS).

Re:Think of Verizon's position (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43812971)

They advertise unlimited with no server usage. He used up that much bandwidth because he was running a bunch of servers to provide VPN access to friends and family, so has been pumping several extra households of data through his connection. This violates terms of service, which is why he was told he needed to move to a business account. In practice, running small or occasional servers doesn't get you flagged but running more bandwidth then a small business on a cheap consumer plan will definitely get you looked at.

Re:Think of Verizon's position (4, Informative)

Reschekle (2661565) | about a year ago | (#43813179)

No, they don't.

http://www22.verizon.com/home/fios-fastest-internet/fastest-internet-plans/ [verizon.com]

Go find the word 'unlimited' on that page.

In the ToS, they specifically mention that excessive use is a reason to boot you off.

http://my.verizon.com/central/vzc.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=vzc_help_policies&id=TOS [verizon.com]

Re:Think of Verizon's position (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43812993)

He violated the TOS by running servers. Verizon is right as much as I hate to admit it.

Re:Think of Verizon's position (-1, Troll)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about a year ago | (#43813005)

Well both parties are to blame.

Verizon - false advertising
Customer - breaking the Terms of Service (TOS)

You know that old cliche: "To every story there are 3 versions: his side, her side, the and the truth in the middle."

Re:Think of Verizon's position (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43813193)

Hmm, what "false advertising" did Verizon do? The summary states that the rep called and asked what he was doing to use so much bandwidth. He said he's running a bunch of servers. The Verizon rep then said that's (running servers on a residential line) against the ToS. Therefore the call was because the excessive usage but the violation was running servers not using a lot of bandwidth.

Re:Think of Verizon's position (1)

Reschekle (2661565) | about a year ago | (#43813217)

Please provide a link to or scan of Verizon's marketing materials describing any of their FiOS internet plans as having unlimited data usage.

Re:Think of Verizon's position (1, Interesting)

dmbasso (1052166) | about a year ago | (#43812823)

I think "WTF are you doing consuming 77 terabits a month" is a legitimate question. I read TFA yesterday and I realized that Verizon probably can't afford to have a whole lot of users chewing up that kind of bandwidth.

Then perhaps don't call it "unlimited"...

Asking him to switch to business service does not out of line to me, considering that he's running these servers for business use.

It is not really clear, but it seems he's not charging anything for the services, so no business here.

Note, also, they handled this with a short phone call rather than a nasty-gram or just cutting off his service without warning. That's more courtesy than I'd expect from a big ISP, given some of the horror stories I've heard.

True.

Re:Think of Verizon's position (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#43812909)

It is not really clear, but it seems he's not charging anything for the services, so no business here.

You're being disingenuous, you know this is not a home use. And, whether or not he is "charging" does not define a "business" use.

But really, the bottom line is that he agreed to the terms of a CONTRACT that almost certainly disallow this type of activity, to really "limited" or "unlimited" is irrelevant.

Re:Think of Verizon's position (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43813149)

So by your logic if I setup a port so I can ssh into my boxes at home and get some data I should get a business class line?

If no then what if I let a friend do it? Am I now a business?

If no what if I let 5 friends do it? Am I now a business?

Where is the line in this world of yours?

Also every program out there is pretty much a service. Most chat programs can accept unsolicited requests on a bound port. They are by definition a service.

If they only want you to surf and email then why are the other 65k ports open on most companies?

77TB is a lot. But I am still trying to figure out what the 'business' was. Most are in it to make money. This sounds like a massive HTPC setup on a WAN. He probably would be better off on a business class line. But guess what? The two are exactly the same only difference is SLA and IP assignment.

Re:Think of Verizon's position (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43813045)

"It is not really clear, but it seems he's not charging anything for the services, so no business here."

Business plans let you run servers without violating ToS. He wants to run servers, so he needs to switch. Verizon doesn't care if you try to make money using their business service, its just what they name the plan because that's who its marketed to.

(note: Verizon doesn't really mind if you have a little ftp server or something, but you start pulling bandwidth numbers like this guy and of course they care)

Re:Think of Verizon's position (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#43813197)

When Verizon advertises in my state, they advertise unlimited *residential* service. Then the ToS go on to explain what residential service is. It so happens I am a Verizon customer (not a fanboy, though doubtless I'll be accused as such) so I've read those ToS. To put it bluntly, I think their definition of "residential" service is extraordinarily narrow, and boils down to incoming HTTP and POP/IMAP only, plus a small volume of outgoing SMTP. I half expect to get a phone call from them some day myself for stepping out of bounds. Running a rack of VPN servers is clearly outside their definition.

Where I think Verizon is being misleading is not with the word "unlimited," but when they use their definition of "residential" and still call it "Internet." Internet to me means any and all protocols I want, bidirectionally. According to Verizon, that's "business" service.

Re:Think of Verizon's position (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43812969)

Correction: 77 teraBYTES a month.

77TB? Sigh. (5, Funny)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about a year ago | (#43812751)

I'm stuck with Bell Canada who has me capped at 66GB a month. (I know I know - tekksaavy etc. I'll be switching later this summer...) 77TB is almost a fuckton of data. (At least metric, where 10TB is a shitload, and 10 shitloads = fuckton) It might be different in the states, I dunno. I need some coffee...

Re:77TB? Sigh. (5, Funny)

samkass (174571) | about a year ago | (#43812911)

We use the English system, where there are 3 shits to a crap, 1760 craps to a holycrap, ...

Re:77TB? Sigh. (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#43812945)

Fucktonne is the metric unit. You said fuckton so it's ok in the US too.

Re:77TB? Sigh. (1)

dFaust (546790) | about a year ago | (#43812991)

77TB is almost a fuckton of data. (At least metric, where 10TB is a shitload, and 10 shitloads = fuckton)

i believe you mean metric fuck tonne.

Re:77TB? Sigh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43813089)

(At least metric, where 10TB is a shitload, and 10 shitloads = fuckton)

Added to my dictionary, thanks.

Truth in advertising? (0)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#43812755)

Why are ISP's allowed to sell an 'unlimited' plan that has limits? Isn't that against false advertising laws? "Unlimited" has a well known and very specific meaning, and that meaning does not include limits, not even "30,000 percent higher than everyone else".

Re:Truth in advertising? (4, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#43812815)

Why are ISP's allowed to sell an 'unlimited' plan that has limits?

Who said it wasn't "unlimited"? The issue is business use vs home use as related to the plan he signed up for.

Re:Truth in advertising? (4, Informative)

Shoten (260439) | about a year ago | (#43812833)

Why are ISP's allowed to sell an 'unlimited' plan that has limits? Isn't that against false advertising laws? "Unlimited" has a well known and very specific meaning, and that meaning does not include limits, not even "30,000 percent higher than everyone else".

The limit isn't on the data here; it's on the form of use. They asked what he was doing, and it turned out that what he was doing qualifies as business, rather than residential use. And at that point they told him that he'd need to change account types.

Look at it this way: what if someone got an account like this, and set themselves up as a small ISP for their neighborhood? Would that be acceptable, simply because it's an unlimited account? Of course not...and the ToS that the customer would have agreed to says as much. Since when is it acceptable to simply ignore the contracts we sign? Oh, wait...that was your point, wasn't it? Well, it goes both ways.

Re:Truth in advertising? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#43812961)

Why are ISP's allowed to sell an 'unlimited' plan that has limits? Isn't that against false advertising laws? "Unlimited" has a well known and very specific meaning, and that meaning does not include limits, not even "30,000 percent higher than everyone else".

The limit isn't on the data here; it's on the form of use. They asked what he was doing, and it turned out that what he was doing qualifies as business, rather than residential use. And at that point they told him that he'd need to change account types.

I don't think that's what TFA says:

[He] wanted to know WTF I was doing. I told him I have a full rack and run servers, and then he said, 'Well, that's against our ToS.'

Does their ToS really say that if you have a server in a rack then it's a violation? I have my home media and DVR servers and disks in a rack (granted, it's a 1/4 rack in the garage, not a full rack). Am I violating some ToS because I put the server in a rack instead of on the floor?

Re:Truth in advertising? (1)

AmazinglySmooth (1668735) | about a year ago | (#43813187)

The bottom line is that the service is offered for cheaper. If you think everyone wants your 77TB service, you are wrong. The ISP offers a rate and a service that most people find acceptable. They also offer dedicated services for you 77TB folks. The ISP can either charge everyone the same assuming they might be a 77TB user or they can tier their service and offer prices that most people will pay.

Re:Truth in advertising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43813203)

Why are ISP's allowed to sell an 'unlimited' plan that has limits? Isn't that against false advertising laws? "Unlimited" has a well known and very specific meaning, and that meaning does not include limits, not even "30,000 percent higher than everyone else".

The limit isn't on the data here; it's on the form of use. They asked what he was doing, and it turned out that what he was doing qualifies as business, rather than residential use. And at that point they told him that he'd need to change account types.

/quote>

Which here in TX would never work. TimeWarner, Suddenlink and Grande will not allow you to have a business service at a residential address. If Verizon does the same, then yes it is truly a limited plan, otherwise if business class service is allowed, it is unlimited

Re:Truth in advertising? (3, Funny)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#43812839)

It's not an unlimited plan.

It's an unlimited* plan.

*limited

Re:Truth in advertising? (1)

malakai (136531) | about a year ago | (#43812997)

Why are ISP's allowed to sell an 'unlimited' plan that has limits?

First, the plan isn't simply defined by a single word. The plan and your agreement to use the plan, is conditioned by paragraphs of words that make up a contract.

This contract grants you the ability to use unlimited bandwidth for personal use. They attempt to prohibit you from exploiting this resource by say leasing your bandwidth to a CDN network and running storage servers for them.

This is wise of them.

Re:Truth in advertising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43813143)

Why are ISP's allowed to sell an 'unlimited' plan that has limits? Isn't that against false advertising laws? "Unlimited" has a well known and very specific meaning, and that meaning does not include limits, not even "30,000 percent higher than everyone else".

One word "Statistics".

99.5% of the users will never ever get close to the "cap" , So the powers that be all it to be called unlimited. Combine that with ToSs that almost guarantee that anything that gets you close to the limit would be a ToS violation and you have "unlimited service"

I have a 30M/2M connection and have yet to hit my 300 GB cap, despite working full time from home ( and all my work is on remote systems ), streaming 20-30 HDTV shows a week and keep 10 systems up dated ( 2 desktops, 2 tablets and 6 laptops ) as well as dragging data, manuals and ISO back

Truth in labeling. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#43812763)

Why these companies insist on calling their plans unlimited? It is not like an all-you-can-eat-buffet where there is very good known upper limit for the amount of food one can consume. On a computer, technically a person could buy "all-you-can-eat-buffet" and make a T-junction at the throat and splice in multiple stomachs to the (lone visible to the provider) mouth, so to speak. Yeah, yeah, you can add clauses to the ToS and try to ferret out these users, but unless one does something so egregious like this, they won't be caught. As more and more people with "unlimited" service share bandwidth with friends and neighbors, the average usage goes up and it is more and more difficult to find people violating "ToS". So basically it is detrimental to the ISP to sell anything labeled "unlimited". Why do they do that? There are still people out there who would refuse to buy "Super premium 1 TB/month" connection unless it is called "unlimited"?

Re:Truth in labeling. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43812811)

Truth in labeling? How about truth in usage? He was using a residential line for business purposes. That's a violation of the ToS. It's unlimited data not unlimited usage. If you want to run servers for people then you have to get a business line.

Re:Truth in labeling. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#43812889)

Yes, the user was violating the ToS. He was caught. There will be many who casually share a broadband over wifi with their neightbors. The company is going to lose their revenue and it will be very difficult to spot such violators of the ToS. So it is not in the best interests of the company to really call it unlimited. Why do they do it?

Re:Truth in labeling. (4, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#43812851)

Why these companies insist on calling their plans unlimited?

Folks, the issue here has nothing to do with the reality of an "unlimited" plan (yet).

It has to do with running a BUSINESS on a plan designed for HOME USE.

Re:Truth in labeling. (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#43813007)

I know of folks who have done that for years. In the early days of DSL, the service would stop cold at one end of the street, so the guy's neighbors pitch in to run ethernet to 3-4 different houses around him. He gets his Internet service for free, and his neighbors get a decent connection.

Even as recently as last year, my neighbors and I did something similar. We were close enough so that if one ISP had an outage, the house that was out merely connected to a neighbor's wireless. We had each others' SSID/password combos (in a rural area trust is everything), so you only needed to extend the courtesy of asking your neighbor before you connected. Neither Charter, Dish (Sat), HughesNet (ditto) or (for awhile until I dumped it) Centurylink were the wiser - nor did they apparently care. Made for a very usable and multi-redundant situation, especially considering that I worked from home most of the time.

Re:Truth in labeling. (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#43813175)

The plan is unlimited: he could use as much data as he wanted and they aren't charging him for the 77T he used.

However, they are choosing to terminate their contract with him, which they have a right to.

While I hate someone advertising "Unlimited" (2, Insightful)

areusche (1297613) | about a year ago | (#43812765)

While I hate someone who advertises "Unlimited" with a limited catch, he was running a ton of servers from his home. They have business class internet connections for something like that. Verizon should just advertise their home accounts with the limits posted. 77 terabytes in one month is a hell of a ton of data even if you were watching Netflix 24/7 at HD.

Re:While I hate someone advertising "Unlimited" (1)

Will2k_is_here (675262) | about a year ago | (#43812785)

Unlimited == Unlimited access to data
Unlmited != Unlimited data

Re:While I hate someone advertising "Unlimited" (1)

Splab (574204) | about a year ago | (#43812841)

He is more than likely getting disconnected due to the fact he is running services; not because of his data usage. Most private ISP contracts prohibits business usage of the connection.

Re:While I hate someone advertising "Unlimited" (1)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#43813231)

"Unlimited == Unlimited access to data FOR THE SUBSCRIBER"

FTFY.

From their TOS (emphasis added):

Restrictions on Use. The Service is a consumer grade service and is not designed for or intended to be used for any commercial purpose. ... For example, you may not ... use it for high volume purposes, or engage in similar activities that constitute such use (commercial or non-commercial)....You also may not ... use the Service to host any type of server.

I'd say that 300x average constitutes "high volume," and servers are definitely covered.

Now, they likely don't care, and look the other way, if you're running a personal email or Subsonic server for your own use. But providing file sharing, video streaming and VPN services to all your family and friends is abusive.

Re:While I hate someone advertising "Unlimited" (1)

legioxi (2849173) | about a year ago | (#43812855)

The issue wasn't his data consumption but rather that he was hosting servers. Unlimited still meant unlimited in this case. Just an issue of home vs business models where no hosting vs hosting is available in the ToS.

Re:While I hate someone advertising "Unlimited" (4, Insightful)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year ago | (#43812925)

"All you can eat" dosn't include carryout for the whole family at the single user rate.

Re:While I hate someone advertising "Unlimited" (1)

youn (1516637) | about a year ago | (#43812981)

I agree, I personally don't like "unlimited" advertisings for many products when they have limits but in this case I would have to side with the FIOS guy... 77 tb of data is huge. Whether he charges for it or not is irrelevant, the guy's service is no different than a business. They asked him to switch to business... it seems reasonable to me as well. I actually find they were rather flexible if they let it reach 77tb

The interesting data here is he is consuming 30,000 more than the average user. which would mean the average user uses between 2-3 gigabytes of data.

Re:While I hate someone advertising "Unlimited" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43813039)

When he bought the service, it didn't say unlimited for whatever purposes you want. It said unlimited within the terms of service. His operating a vpn service for friends and family was probably a violation of the terms of service (similar to how buying the service and setting up wifi for all your neighbors is a violation.) They threatened to disconnect him for that, not for the excessive bandwidth usage. The bandwidth usage is what raised the red flags and prompted the call, but the threat of disconnection was not issued until they came to understand he was in fact violating the TOS.

Re:While I hate someone advertising "Unlimited" (2)

malakai (136531) | about a year ago | (#43813053)

He wasn't limited to 77 TB.

It was sometime at or around this watermark that a Verizon engineer finally got to his flagged account, and tried to figure out what was going on.

After all, maybe he was infected, and his home machines were being used to stream MMA fights to Pakistan. Or maybe he was subleasing his bandwidth and servers to a CDN network.

RTFA (0)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#43812887)

People seem to be willing to call this "commercial" use too readily in this article's comment section here. I find the trend towards calling browse-only internet service disconcerting. I see no reason why I shouldn't be able to run a noncommercial box or series of boxes at home that provide myself, family, and friends, with access. Either you have internet connectivity or you don't. Arbitrarily determining that use is "commercial" simply because the average user does not use their connection the same way is asinine.

the imaginary line between business and personal usage is not drawn in any way that reflects the actual meaning of the words.

Hey California Verizon user... (4, Insightful)

bwcbwc (601780) | about a year ago | (#43812891)

It's because of people like you that we can't have nice things (service).

Nice to see your business is going so well, though.

Brazen (3)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43812907)

"77 terabytes last month. WTF are you doing?"

"I run a small web site that was quoted and slashdotted."

It's jerks like this (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#43812929)

That make carriers put rules in place which make it against the TOS for me to run a home server for SSH or personal Email. I guess on the other hand though, Verizon shouldn't market it as "Unlimited bandwidth" if they are going to have a problem with what you do with it.

I am flabbergasted... (1)

macbeth66 (204889) | about a year ago | (#43813011)

Slashdot readers sounding reasonable. About an ISP and Unlimited data. Wow.

I guess there will be no shortage of ice this weekend in the evil Lord's lair.

realization (3, Funny)

splatter (39844) | about a year ago | (#43813015)

Humm,

Verizon FIOS: yeah ok, I have 20/5 d/u

DAAP Music streaming
p2p bit torrent
VPN
UPnP movie server
web page
TOR
SSH tunneling
File server

Still haven't hit anything near that transfer rate in over 5 years total, I need more friends...

Was never an 'unlimited' plan to begin with (3, Interesting)

Reschekle (2661565) | about a year ago | (#43813067)

I'd like for someone to point to marketing or promo material from Verizon calling this plan an 'unlimited' plan. While it's possible the marketing guys screwed it up, it's more likely that this plan was never labeled an 'unlimited' plan at all. For some reason when ISPs crack down on excessive use, there are always hordes of people who claimed they purchased an 'unlimited' plan when the evidence says otherwise.

Companies like AOL got in trouble because they went from only having time-metered dialup plans to having so-called unlimited plans where you could stay dialed in as long as you'd like. A lot of people took them up on this and left themselves dialed in for weeks at a time. AOL took it upon themselves to make exceptions to this (as it impacted service for other users - no free lines for customers to dial in to!) but never put in any fine print in. AOL got sued and lost over this, and subsequently they started changing the wording of their marketing materials and putting in fine print.

Now days nobody expects broadband to have the same types of limits so the ISPs simply just don't bother with the 'unlimited' verbage. They prefer to use terms like 'always on' and such, which means something entirely different.

It's tough to keep it simple (2)

dmomo (256005) | about a year ago | (#43813075)

If everyone behaved the same as this guy, I'm sure that Verizon would not be able to offer the service at the consumer price.
70 Terabytes would certainly be the equivalent of "unlimited" to me. This isn't to defend Verizon, as I do agree that they could find a way to make the limits of their plan more clear.

I Suppose Verizon COULD, instead of using the term "unlimited" call the plan: the 50 Terabytes / month plan.

But, for typical consumers, this *IS* unlimited and those numbers just might make choosing an Internet provider more complicated. In fact, if my parents were asking for advice on an Internet service, I would indeed say: "oh, don't worry about those numbers, that pretty much means unlimited for you guys".

By adding these numbers to the plan, competitors could simply up the numbers, while adding no real value for the user. Even Verizon could even offer a 100 Terabyte plan for "only $20 more a month". The average consumer would see this as value, while in reality they would just be paying more.

How is this Hitting A Cap?? (1)

CrazyDoode (843836) | about a year ago | (#43813087)

Completely misleading article and title. This has nothing hitting an invisible cap. His high usage exposed him abusing the TOS and nothing else. Fair, fine and dandy. If this were my ISP I wouldn't give him until July to switch to a business account I'd automagically retro the billing to a business account for the last 6 months and then he can fight it out with the billing dept.

Verizon TOS (1)

ezdiy (2717051) | about a year ago | (#43813103)

From TFA:

(h) engage in any conduct harmful to the Verizon network, the Internet generally or other Internet users;
(i) generate excessive amounts of email or other Internet traffic;

Given the technology in question - PON - where downstream bandwith is shared, "get a dedicated 1GE bussiness fiber, or gtfo" is actually reasonable response from verizon.

For comparison: I'm burning 600mbps 95th on my home connection too. The difference is that the metro ISP in question actually bothered to design the network to handle such load (plain ethernet switched star topology, no shared bandwith media).

This ISP has like 15k customers (fiber in metro area, wifi in suburbs) and I'm consuming 1/10 of their peering bandwith while not slowing down anyone. Usual bussiness of QoS class policy maps on the border/aggregation.

I pay 10eur/mo for that 1GE RJ45 in my apt. They were curious about my high bw usage too, all I had to do is sign 'proclamation of non-commercial usage'.

For once the ISP has a point (2, Interesting)

dcavanaugh (248349) | about a year ago | (#43813123)

This case really IS excessive; it goes well beyond what an individual user would reasonably use on their own.

Most of the OTHER cases (esp. cable companies) involve mysterious limits that individuals can break by watching (or downloading) too much online video. Of course, if you buy the cable company's overpriced TV services, you can watch as many shows as you like, on however many set top boxes you have, drawing down an unlimited volume of video-over-IP traffic to do it. Just don't watch video that competes with the cable provider, and it's all good.

Verizon is a business. (2)

flatland_skier (656906) | about a year ago | (#43813129)

Verizon has the right to do business with this guy or not. This guy decided to find the line between what Verizon would accept and what it wouldn't. He found it and now has to pay for a higher level of service with Verizon or decide to pay another vendor for Internet. Sounds fair to me. BTW for those complaining about Unlimited plans... they aren't charging for an "overage" they just don't want to do business with him anymore.

ToS: can't host any type of server (3, Informative)

Vulcanworlds (2628215) | about a year ago | (#43813145)

Section 4.3 Restrictions on Use.

The Service is a consumer grade service and is not designed for or intended to be used for any commercial purpose. You may not resell, re-provision or rent the Service, (either for a fee or without charge) or allow third parties to use the Service via wired, wireless or other means. For example, you may not provide Internet access to third parties through a wired or wireless connection or use the Service to facilitate public Internet access (such as through a Wi-Fi hotspot), use it for high volume purposes, or engage in similar activities that constitute such use (commercial or non-commercial). If you subscribe to a Broadband Service, you may connect multiple computers/devices within a single home to your modem and/or router to access the Service, but only through a single Verizon-issued IP address. You also may not exceed the bandwidth usage limitations that Verizon may establish from time to time for the Service, or use the Service to host any type of server. Violation of this section may result in bandwidth restrictions on your Service or suspension or termination of your Service.

http://www.verizon.net/policies/vzcom/tos_popup.asp [verizon.net]

Well here's how they can artificially cap your unlimited plan. 'may not exceed the bandwidth usage limitations that Verizon may establish from time to time' or 'use the Service to host any type of server'.

Plus the AUP allows them to nab you from anything from off-topic posts (Attactment A.2.e) to hitting IP's in embargo'd countries (cuba, sudan, etc) Attactment A.2.l. And unless this somehow excludes personal server, my guess is tons of users are violating some part of the ToS.

Inbound or outbound? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43813185)

The issue here is that he had massive OUTBOUND traffic. Thats what caused the red flag. If it was inbound, they wouldn't have bothered him. ;-)

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