back to article You, Verizon. What's with the download throttle? Explain yourself – FCC boss

The head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is demanding an explanation from Verizon over the carrier's decision to throttle LTE speeds for heavy users. Chairman Tom Wheeler wrote to Verizon CEO Daniel Mead seeking information about the network's plan to deliberately slow data speeds for the top five per cent of …

  1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    "Reasonable network management concerns the technical management of your network; it is not a loophole designed to enhance your revenue streams."

    Looks like someone didn't make good with the briefcase full of cash. Not smart, Verizon. When you and your industry chums get a blatantly corrupt top industry lobbyist put in power over your little cartel you should remember the first - and only - rule of blatantly corrupt lobbyists: the only thing they give a bent damn about is who is the money. Cease making with the protection funds and your "loyal" attack dog will bark at you...maybe even bite.

    Come on, you folks are supposed to be smarter than this.

    1. dan1980

      Trevor, your scathing attacks add amusement to my days but perhaps in this instance Wheeler is simply on a mission to save face with the public (and the Government) by talking tough against a target that is already in the public eye.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        I don't buy that. Why? He has no need to "talk tough". He isn't elected. He has no mandate or requirement to get public buy in. He is a tin pot dictator in charge of his own little world with a limited timespan on the throne and he knows it. He won't be in power long enough to give a bent hoo-rah what anyone except He Who Appoints Chairmen thinks.

        The only thing that matters to Wheeler is that after he's strutted his hour upon the stage he has a truckload of money and/or a right cushy job lined up that will provide him said truckload of money. He serves no master but himself and he has no priorities excepting himself. And those priorities begin and end at ensuring he has enough resources to obtain and maintain what he believes to be an opulent living.

        Make the position an elected one, watch him dance to the public's tune. Until then, the above holds true.

        Think I'm full of it? Go carefully examine his comments regard net neutrality before and after the FCC website was crashed twice with a completely unprecedented (by several orders of magnitude) flood of comments from the public. The tone doesn't change one bit, and he is playing exactly the tune that he was placed there to play: keep the public interest from affecting the interest of the telecoms companies.

        The public eye means nothing to him. So why even give it consideration? No, I maintain that compensation was promised and then reneged. Otherwise, why would Wheele put in even token effort, let alone bother to make comments in public that would run the risk of alienating one of his most likely sources of post-chairman sweet jobs and/or truckloads of cash?

        A great example of exactly this is Meredith Attwell Baker. It saddens me how easy it seems to be that we forget such things.

        1. dan1980

          Even the most heinous, self-serving individuals want to be loved, deep down.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            No, they really don't. I can introduce you to at least 15. They currently reside in long-term mental heath care facilities. That said, there are lots and lots and lots of people with the same basic conditions who are "functional" and who walk around doing their jobs in everyday life. Many of them gravitate towards positions of power. Doctors, lawyers, politicians.

            My family is filled with shrinks. if you honestly believe that "Even the most heinous, self-serving individuals want to be loved, deep down" then let's you and I sit down and have a few beers one day. I'll tell you some of the stories I grew up with of some of the world's most disturbed individuals. And then I'll introduce you to teams at three universities who were on the verge of being able to identify the genes responsible for predisposition towards most of those conditions, but which were stopped by ethics boards.

            You see, because so many individuals absolutely do walk around with this issues but are "functional members of society" there is a lot of ethical debate about funding research that could potentially prejudice people who don't have those specific traits against those who do.

            I can even introduce you to someone who put 4 years towards a doctorate based on that, only to have to shift (and add three more years) because of this issue. (She got way too close to actually nailing it.)

            So no, there are many people who - deep down - don't give a bent fuck about being loved at all. But they do like power, and they need control. And bags and bags of money buys them almost enough of each to sate them.

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
              Unhappy

              there are many people who - deep down - don't give a bent fuck about being loved at all. But they do like power, and they need control.

              And the real question is, why do we keep electing them?

              1. d3rrial

                Re: Phil O'Sophical

                For a lack of alternatives.

                Why do you think people in North Korea elect Kim Jong Un? There's only one candidate on the ballot.

                It's no different here in the western world. No matter who you put your cross in for the election, they're all just actors, putting up a front to entertain the masses, make them believe they have a choice. In the end it doesn't matter at all who you vote for, they'll screw you either way.

                Edit: This isn't some black helicopters conspiracy bullshit. What I'm trying to say is that politicians are all equally evil and the difference in value they show to the public are just for show. Left wing, right wing, doesn't matter, they'd both do the same thing when they come to power.

                You probably heard the quote "Never attribute to malice what could equally be attributed to incompetence". That holds true only for people. Politicians however are mindless, greedy scum, whose entire existences are nothing but malice.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          He is a Verizon customer who watches Netflix. Nuff said.

          The government want people to like them,support them, then maybe they could use the NSA to monitor these large companies and punish them instead of taking notes everytiime its citizens blow off steam when getting screwed.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Make the position an elected one, watch him dance to the public's tune"

          I think you mean:

          Make the position an elected one, watch him dance to whoever funds the election campaign.

          I have a photo somewhere of a sign "Vote XYZ for Coroner". FFS!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CYA

    Watch Wheeler give quiet reassurances once he has a CYA report in hand.

  3. Mark 85 Silver badge

    A sternly worded letter?

    Oooo.... I'll bet that hurts. And any (if any) ensuing fine will be what.... the price of a cup of coffee? This might just be cheaper for Verizon than a briefcase with cash in it left conveniently behind on the office couch.

    1. HMB

      Re: A sternly worded letter?

      Yeah, I was kind of thinking the same thing.

      "Naughty Verizon! Now say sorry and promise you wont do anything like this again."

  4. Fluffy Bunny
    Angel

    Why doesn't Verizon just bite the bullet and put traffic throttling into it's Ts&Cs? If you just tell customers that anybody going over a reasonable limit (and state the limit) may be subject to a cut in bandwidth, nobody will be able to complain.

    1. Tom 35

      Except the whole unlimited thing.

    2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      If they change the T&Cs then everyone who wanted would have a reason to break contract and flee to T-mob.

  5. John Robson Silver badge

    Surely the...

    ..."for those on our unlimited" is merely for the convenience of those not on that tarrif, who won't be using much data anyway...

  6. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Pardon me for reading

    I haven't read the Verizon T&C's but I have read them from several other companies which leads me to use the phrase "unlimited, for a certain value of unlimited." Every T&C I HAVE read has a clause that allows the provider to throttle the bandwidth of any users they feel are using more than an average amount of data services. The exact wording I'd have to look up, but it's always very nebulous so the provider doesn't have to commit to a fixed number. I don't have any doubt that the top 5% of the users on any data service use a disproportionately large amount of total bandwidth.

    No crime, nothing to see here. It's all written down and the user signed the form at the bottom.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The guy makes a good point. I have no issue with throttling traffic in high usage areas, but it shouldn't affect the biggest users of their unlimited dataplan, it should affect everyone equally. It is not fair for me to pay (for example) £40 a month and user X also pays £40 a month but uses less data so they get a faster speed. We pay the same, we should get the same, just because they don't use it much doesn't mean they have any more or less right to the bandwidth than I do. I pay for a service and for that to then be throttled because I actually use the service is unfair.

    I wonder how Verizon would react if employees took the same approach to delivering a service that Verizon are paying for. The more work their boss gives them the slower they go, sometimes just failing to work for hours at a time.

  8. Uncle Ron

    Gas

    I don't trust a single breath (or any other gas) escaping from Tom Wheeler. I feel there is a hidden objective beneficial to his cable and internet industry overlords contained somewhere in here. Something they can use later to justify Metered Billing of internet service. This is the ultimate, pot-of-gold objective that all the cable system and telecom monopolies have. They want us to accept Data Caps, and Metered Billing as a fact of life, and have publicly stated as much. See David Cohen's remarks to Comcast investors in February of this this year.

    Metered Billing is not only an unjustified price gouge and profit windfall for these monopolies, but a DISINCENTIVE to them to improve technology and capacity. The old monopolist credo of "create artificial scarcity" is very much in play here in the US. They have also publicly stated they expect the average consumer bill for internet service will be $200 to $300 per month within the next 3 to 5 years--just the bits, no content.

    America is sunk as a technology leader if we let this happen.

  9. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    UNLIMITED, eventually

    I'd like to see the FCC crack down on special versions of "unlimited" claims. Let us start of with the "unlimited" Sprint plan I had a couple of years ago. 1.2 Kb per second = 392 MB per month absolute maximum. Assuming that the phone flies across the room, and the battery falls out when it hits the wall, after an hour of trying to download something each day, that's only 16.4 MB per month. That's not so unlimited.

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