FCC Chairman Wheeler’s response to Verizon’s rationale on throttling: “All the kids do it” is not an excuse

FCC Chairman Wheeler’s response to Verizon’s rationale on throttling: “All the kids do it” is not an excuse
It is hardly an official regulatory action, but it does not help the PR campaign either. We can see our mother’s waving finger from childhood, “If all the kids were going to jump off a bridge would you do it too?”

As you know, Verizon announced that beginning this fall, it would expand its “network optimization” policies to those who have legacy unlimited data plans on the LTE network, and also happen to fall into the top 5% of data users during periods of high demand on specific cell sites.

The optimization would slow down the data speeds of those high users during specific periods of high-load on a cell site, and when demand eases, data speeds return to normal. Does that qualify as “throttling” in the commonly used definition in wireless data? Arguably no, particularly when you consider AT&T and T-Mobile’s policies are not so flexible.

Verizon explained that in a response to an inquiry by the FCC about the expanded policy, also pointing out that the original policy was handled with little or no controversy (throttling on its 3G network). Verizon also dismissed concerns over limiting customers’ abilities to access applications and services, stating that customers are free to go where they want on the internet to use apps and services of their choice.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler told reporters today that he did not buy that argument and felt there was a “business issue” at work to try and get customers to move to metered data plans. “’All the kids do it’ is something that never worked with me when I was growing up, and it didn’t work for my kids,” according to Wheeler.

Characterizing the issue as a child’s argument is surely not going to endear a productive conversation on the issue. It is no secret that wireless spectrum has limits, and while smart management can abate a lot of those challenges, it is tough to replace the idea that “more is better.” This issue will certainly come up again before and during the 600MHz spectrum auction next year.

source: The Washington Post

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31 Comments

1. syncronyze

Posts: 103; Member since: Apr 26, 2014

2. Duketytz

Posts: 534; Member since: Nov 28, 2013

Dear sir, I like you!

3. mturby unregistered

Throttling should be illegal. Carriers cant prove that massive data usage could harm their or other consumers services. Data usage is just like a normal PC Internet usage. F***k u Verizon!

4. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Except Verizon's network has gone down many times in the past because of overload.

7. TheMan

Posts: 494; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

??? Where and when has that happened? I know that AT&T has that issue in NYC and the SF Bay Area, but not VZW.

11. timepilot84

Posts: 113; Member since: Aug 16, 2012

Throttling should be allowed to prevent complete network outages, but throttling based on what service plan a user has is pure BS, plain and simple. According to this plan, regardless of how much data is being used currently by the "high use" unlimited user, they'll be throttled in a crowded area.

17. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Data cannot bring a well-designed and well-managed voice network down. If it comes down and VZW blames illusive data hogs, it's just making them scapegoats for their incompetence.

18. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

^ THIS!

23. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

Well said augustine!!!!

15. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Which is the fault of VZW, not of its customers.

16. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

We don't need no more laws like that, rather only those that empower consumers. Like if a customer is throttled, it's a breach of contract and therefore he's off the hook of the ETF.

24. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

HEEELLLLLLLl YEAAAA!!!! ur a TRUE American!!!!

22. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

THANNNNNNNKK YOUUUUUU!!!! said it like a TRUE American!!!!

5. Mxyzptlk unregistered

This has got to be the dumbest regulation. Data speed isn't guaranteed. They're only throttling you if you use a ton of data during peak times when bandwidth is limited. They're not throttling your service entirely.

6. wumberpeb

Posts: 453; Member since: Mar 14, 2011

There are several areas across this country where the cell site closest to your home or business is constantly being overloaded. Trying to get the most of your unlimited data plan, save for those using extraordinary amount of data per month (far more than the measly 4.7 GB Verizon deems the top 5%), will feel like a constant exercise in patience. So those who are unfortunate enough to live or work in a high traffic area will unfortunately be penalized more often. Data speeds are certainly not guaranteed, and most every user is accustomed to this part of life, but they're not taking about reducing your speeds from 25Mbps to 8. Throttling usually entails 3G level speeds or worse. Maybe I missed the part where they specifically announced what these speeds would be, but their likely a small fraction of normal throughput... ...and that's the incredibly unfair part

26. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

thank you!!

25. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

jump off a cliff please...... look i OWN vzw stock, but that DONT mean i want them being Assholes like this.

8. dtownlyricalmc

Posts: 2; Member since: Jul 31, 2014

How about Verizon upgrade their infrastructure and stop putting the blame on the customer. I guess it's our fault that they are still running copper for backhaul as well to right? How a about you need to get fiber ran for your backhaul which just may help clear up these imaginary issues your having. Now lets get into this whole throttling people thing is a bunch of bull especially seeing that 4.7 GB is the cap which is ever so close to the 5 GB that AT&T throttles at. So let me get this straight you launch XLTE which will lead to faster speeds and double the bandwidth by cycling phones between the 700 mhz band and AWS band, you force people to use wifi due to crappy data package price points and your still having network problems yeah ok Verizon no one is buying that bull your selling.

27. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

Hell no were not!!!! well said!!!!

9. gazmatic

Posts: 807; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

I would hate to be throttled... unlimited should mean unlimited... I would understand if it was a 5gb plan and you are throttled after you reach your limit but... come on In my country they dont throttle you...mainly because most people are on prepaid plans... so if you reach your limit you either pay for more or you are cut off

10. cheeseycheeser

Posts: 413; Member since: Mar 24, 2011

Ever since around the time this was announced I've noticed that it is nearly impossible to watch YouTube videos on my unlimited verizon data plan (I use about 8gb a month)

28. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

Better call em!!!!!! give em an earfull for me!!!

12. Grenmad

Posts: 38; Member since: Jun 06, 2014

This is FALSE ADVERTISING and should be stopped by the FTC. The FTC sued and stopped Shell Oil from making claims of their Super Unleaded gasoline giving better performance and mileage from their commercials. The FTC also sued and stopped Airborne vitamins from making claims that it will prevent the common cold. The term "unlimited data" needs to be changed to "unlimited after throttle" or "throttled after limit".

13. wumberpeb

Posts: 453; Member since: Mar 14, 2011

The whole argument that someone should sue because it's "false advertisement" is blatantly ignoring exactly what "unlimited" entails: the quantity. They're not limiting the quantity, because you can grab as much as your phone can handle. It's a reduced speed, sure, but you can still use it as much as you want. It's the "end around" that companies who employ throttling techniques can get away with. I'm certainly not in favor of this crippling new rule, but nobody is getting sued for false advertising. They never advertised unlimited data AND speeds, gotta read all the fine print. As much as people bang in Sprint for their coverage in rural areas, anyone claiming their "suing for false advertisement" of their coverage loses all of their credibility as an informed customer. It's the same idea, read the fine print off the contracts YOU sign.

29. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

thats y i HAVE sprint!!! unltd data baby, NO throttling here!! (i live in Los angeles)

14. Leo_MC

Posts: 6331; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

How about adding extra towers in crowded areas?

19. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

This is the flip-side of the FCC here. Laziness, red-tape, and lobbyists are keeping this from happening. Go for a visit to Maine, parts of Montana and Colorado, upper Michigan, and Northern Minnesota, then come back to me. Most of these places only have one working carrier where they could have two or more, but bullsh*t keeps this from happening. For every one thing the FCC does good, they do either ten things bad or nothing at all.

20. Leo_MC

Posts: 6331; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Change the laws; you are the citizens, you have the power (or so it should be).

21. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

"or so it should be" is more correct.

31. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

we gotta do beter, idk, must be the apple iphone ppl that dont vote or something

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