back to article Verizon: 'We're not throttling bandwidth except when we are'

Verizon Wireless slipped out a policy on Thursday that kills unlimited data access for customers, just as the Canadian government was squashing a big-telco friendly policy that would sink its country's net neutrality. Verizon – which recently slipped to number two among US wireless carriers – updated the terms and conditions …


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  1. alwarming
    Paris Hilton

    "Guaranteed to work until it fails."

    Actual User Warning in sample code distributed by students in college.

    Paris, coz she throttles.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    So you cap the top 5%, and they become say bottom 50%... which means the 5% that were behind them are now the top 5%, so you cap them into the bottom 55%... which means that the 5% that were behind them (now down to the top 15% if I can add) are now capped, into the bottom 60%, and so on... in a few days you could quite easily cap everyone. Problem solved for data capacity, I guess. All well within T&Cs and so forth.

    What I really want to know, though, is why a service providor can change T&Cs on me at whim, but I cant do likewise... oh you capped me, okay now my unlimited $50/month service isnt unlimited for the next 9 months, so I'll just pay you the $20/month that you would have charged me for the capped service. Oh wait, that would be fair, wouldnt it. Cant have that now can we.

    Anon because, well, I feel like it.

    1. Kirbini
      Thumb Up

      There is an upside...

      Since they unilaterally changed the T&Cs you can now up and cancel your brand new Driod contract and keep the phone without having to pay an ETF. They broke the contract you signed, you are allowed out.

      It may also be true that if you pay your next bill without canceling your account then you implicitly accept the new terms and the ETF comes back into play. Not sure but it wouldn't surprise me. That's why contract changes are usually buried in some tiny text at the bottom of some filler page.

  3. J. Cook Silver badge

    Not worried about it here...

    I don't see a problem with this- Verizon is protecting it's network from being over utilized by people who apparently don't know just how big a pain in the butt dealing with large amounts of data transfer over cellular frequencies is.

  4. Martin Budden Silver badge


    Are they still selling the now limited service as "unlimited"? Some ISPs do, which I would have thought would be illegal, but somehow they seem to get away with it.

  5. David Neil

    Capped for the current AND next billing cycle?

    Seems unduely harsh imo

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Internet on phones is the future" we were told

    "fall within the top 5% of Verizon Wireless data users"

    So once you throttled these 5%, the next 5% become the top 5%, hence they also get throttled, and so on?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ok, but....

    I don’t really have a problem with bandwidth throttling where users are heavily using (or abusing as ISPs) would put it, BUT only if the following is done...

    1. An option to pay a premium to remove the throttling is available – so those with a genuine need (as opposed to just leeching music and movies all day) can still get an unlimited service.

    2. The excessive usage threshold is set realistically – it rarely is. For example, Virgin Media’s throttling on their sub-50Mbit packages means you cannot actually do what they advertise the service as being good for – naming streaming or downloading a 1080p HD movie without your connection being throttled during peak hours. That in my opinion, is way to low a threshold (not to mention questionable advertising).

    3. The do not call or advertise the service as unlimited. Particularly on mobile data plans – 500MB data cap is a long way off unlimited isn’t it. It’s just false advertising, plain & simple.

  8. Graham Robinson

    Top 5%

    How can what 1 in 20 users consume be considered extraordinary?

  9. dreadful scathe

    Stupid Verizon

    "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," Verizon said.

    It is not the fault of the 5% that the other 95% may be affected - they are only using the service they were provided in a normal way. And of course with Verizons logic, even if all customers do not use the service to download very much at all, there will still be a top 5% for them to abuse. Maybe Verizon could just sort out their service, theres an idea.

  10. TeeCee Gold badge

    "...recently slipped to number two among US wireless carriers..."

    Hmm, I seem to recall from posts here and elsewhere that their user base has been describing them as Number Two for quite some time now....

  11. Tom 13

    Here we go again.

    I don't like the vague language from Verizon. They should spell out exactly what level of usage is excessive in the T&C, not some constantly changing "top 5%." If they want to sell a package of say 300 MB of total downloads per month at a rate not exceeding etc, etc. that's fine by me. If they want to make more available at a higher cost, again fine by me. The problem here is that any given user doesn't know whether or not they've exceeded the limits until AFTER the fact.

  12. JeffyPooh

    "Top 5%"

    I've seen that sort of smoke and mirrors before...

    Once upon a time I got in trouble with my usage of an "unlimited" wireless data plan. The wireless telco in question claimed that it was just some tiny fraction ("0.2%" or similar) of their customers that were impacting the network. So I did the math. If that tiny fraction (0.2% or whatever) were using - for example - about 20 times the norm, then that's a modest 4% increase in traffic. If their network can't handle 4% one way or the other, then that's their problem.

    The basic rule here is that a small fraction times even a large number only equals a moderate result. If their girly-network can't handle the traffic and maintain a comfortable degree of headroom, then they need to light-up some more fibre. They'll have to do so sooner or later anyway, so do it now. Network hardware isn't THAT expensive. Geesh.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And the solutions obviously is...

    for the bottom 95% to go on a binge of downloading linux ISOs, SDKs and whatever video they can find.

  14. scarshapedstar


    What I don't get is why people assume that Android users are a bunch of Luddites who don't know how to suck up a lot of data, and now all the uber-tech-savvy latte-swilling iPhone users are going to crash the joint.

    I stream music everywhere I drive with my Droid. Haven't listened to actual radio in months. Moreover, with TinyShark (flash-based and thus Android-only free shell for Grooveshark) I can stream much higher quality audio than Pandora or even Slacker offers. Shit, with all the widgets I have, I can stream 2 or 3 things at the same time.

    Suck it, Verizon iPhone users -- if you want a lot of bandwidth you'll have to wait in line,

  15. HereIAmJH

    Dropping packets and calling it a feature

    I would be happy with throttling if it was in response to a network bottleneck. In fact, what they do is drop packets when the network gets overloaded and then blow smoke up your butt telling you they are in the process of installing more towers in your neighborhood. I had many months of excellent service, followed by six months of broadband that was only usable in the middle of the night.

    They keep trying to sell all these vCast services to get us to buy their expensive 'smart' phones, then utterly fail to deliver the bandwidth. Watch video? I can't even look up an address on Google maps during the daytime. 4g is a wet dream on a network that stumbles at 3g.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wild guess:

    "Top 5%" = whoever happens to be streaming video at any given time.

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