Verizon's plan to throttle LTE speeds draws scrutiny from FCC chairman

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 37
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    "Honor their commitments" - can someone help me understand, didn't these contracts end long ago? What prevents Verizon from saying fine, we were trying to be gracious, but we are just eliminating the "unlimited" plans? Other than turning away the users that may walk to Sprint because of it?

    Verizon started tiered plans a little over 2 years ago. Anyone that signed up before then (like me ;)), and hasn't upgraded still has unlimited data.
  • Reply 22 of 37
    gmhutgmhut Posts: 242member
    Classic bait and switch.
  • Reply 23 of 37
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    The problem is they aren't making any correlation between throttling unlimited data users based on their actual usage in total or on their usage at peak times. You could have a guy that does most of his network usage between midnight and 3am when it impacts no one and he gets throttled while trying download an attachment during the day while racing to catch a connecting flight simply because he has an unlimited plan.

    As long as you are not breaking any of the terms of service you are never abusing an unlimited plan. The person using as much data as they like on a plan they were offered and paid for should not be made to feel like second class citizen. Any carrier that points at these customers and blames them for their network congestion should be sued for libel and slander. Its not the user's fault there is congestion. It is the carriers' fault for over subscribing their capacity. They were offered a service that the carrier was contractually obligated to provide and made hefty profits on at a time when network usage was not prevalent as it is today. The reality is, it is the tiered data customers that came after the unlimited plan customers that caused the strain on the network. 

    Imagine if McDonalds had a sale and they said if come in by 1pm and you buy a big mac for full price you can get the second big mac for 25¢. Then say 200 people come in by 1pm.  Seeing that they will have to make 400 big macs the manager starts getting nervous because they only have supplies to make 500 big macs a day and they did not anticipate such a large turn out for this sale. After fulfilling some of the orders for customers that bought two the manager then starts asking customers if they would accept a voucher to come back for their second big mac tomorrow because they won't have enough big macs for the rest of their customers that day. Some customers accept the voucher while some still insist on their second big mac for 25¢. After the sales period is over the regular customers start ordering single big macs at regular price and the store very quickly runs out.

    When the next customer in line orders a big mac the manager takes his money then tells him there are no more big macs because these greedy bastards came in and bought them all while pointing at the customers in the dining room that are enjoying their 2 big macs. When the new customer looks at him and says "but I just paid you for 1 big mac," the manager says "you can come back tomorrow and you can have your big mac then, we simply don't have the supplies to make more big macs today, because these greedy bastards bought all our inventory during our sale." The confused customer takes his voucher for his delayed big mac and leaves. This goes on for a while until new customers are demanding the store provide them with the big macs they are taking their money for and then telling them they can't provide and not offering a refund just a delay in providing the big mac.

    The manager at this point is realizing all the revenue he lost by not selling those 25¢ big macs for full price and seeing the stress it is causing his new customers by not having them to give, decides to rush into the dining room and start screaming at all the patrons enjoying their two big macs purchased during the sale and snatching them off their tables, telling them they are fat and greedy, damaging McDonald's good name and hurting all the future customers that just want a big mac. He then proceeds to give the snatched big macs to the new customers and collects their money.

    How I understand it is if a user in the top 5% in data usage he/she will get throttled only if the particular cell site is at capacity. Once that user is on a less busy cell site his/her speed will return.
  • Reply 24 of 37
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    alphafox wrote: »
    I would prefer if they get temporarily throttled in that circumstance so everyone has fair access to the frequency.

    That's exactly what they what VZW wants to do. The throttling is only temporary. Until the site becomes less congested, or the user moves to a less congested site.

    When unlimited data was introduced there were no tv/movie/music streaming apps. YouTube wasn't as big as it is today. Our Internet usage has grown exponentially since the introduction of the smartphone.
  • Reply 25 of 37
    I am far from a Verizon fan, but their plan is far better than the BS that ATT origionally imposed. ATT put the cap in place no matter what the network status was. You could be the only person on that tower, but you were still limited to dial up speeds. At one point ATT's 5% kicked in below 2GB. So a person on a $20 tiered 2GB plan could get 2GB of data, but the $30 unlimited plan could not. That backlash made them change their policy so that the cap could never fall below whatever $30 of tiered data would get you.

    Is unlimited over tiered throttling right? No. But why is FCC going after Verizon and not ATT who has a much worst program and is almost as big as Verizon?
  • Reply 26 of 37

    I'm glad the FCC's speaking up about this. My Verizon Unlimited Data Lines have served me well over the years. In any case, I plan on selling one of those unlimited lines soon. If anyone here's interested, feel free to PM me.

  • Reply 27 of 37
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post





    That's exactly what they what VZW wants to do. The throttling is only temporary. Until the site becomes less congested, or the user moves to a less congested site.



    When unlimited data was introduced there were no tv/movie/music streaming apps. YouTube wasn't as big as it is today. Our Internet usage has grown exponentially since the introduction of the smartphone.

     

     

    So are you telling me the wireless carries, many of them steeped in offering traditional terrestrial network services and connectivity (including core internet backbones) did not believe that demand for wireless internet connectivity would grow? I understand that demand, growth and peak capacity are almost always out of alignment, but we have been capped at the same numbers for 3-4 years now. If the carriers ran a Chinese buffet, the buffet would have 10,000 items, the restaurant would seat 20 people with 2000 people waiting outside for a table and there would only be 3 plates to go around for everybody. Anytime some did manage to make it to the buffet a guy would yell at them "You eat too much!"

  • Reply 28 of 37
    sestewartsestewart Posts: 102member

    Have you complainers written the Chairman yet? His email is [email protected]

     

    Below is the letter currently waiting in the inbox for a response 6 months later. Took me about 30 minutes. I'd urge you all to spend some time and show Tom your appreciation, and your thoughts on the previous commissioner's non-action. 

     

     

     

    Dear Chairman Wheeler:

     


    This morning I read a interesting letter from you to Verizon Wireless' CEO regarding their network management practices to throttle the top 5% of their users. 


     


    Your statement "I know of no past Commission statement that would treat as "reasonable network management" a decision to slow traffic to a user who has paid, after all, for "unlimited" service." is why I'm writing to you today. 


     


    You see, I'm an AT&T customer. And when AT&T began throttling back in 2011, we all had "unlimited data" plans. What did we do when AT&T throttled our connection speeds from 3G to 2G speeds on HSPA and HSPA+ technology? We wrote to the FCC. And the FCC did NOTHING for us consumers. 



    http://www.cultofmac.com/133903/att-starts-throttling-heavy-iphone-data-users-to-2g-speeds/



    Granted this wasn't your commission then. But the precedent has been set since AT&T began the throttling practice in 2011. Then Verizon joined them, throttling congested networks on their 3G towers. AT&T still today throttles any unlimited customer on a grandfathered unlimited data plan, even if they have an LTE plan. Republic wireless, T-mobile, Straight Talk, Sprint.. they all have throttling as part of their bandwidth limits for customers. Perhaps you are a VZ user and just now realized you are being throttled on LTE? Where has this fire been for the rest of consumers? 



    I've written numerous FCC complaints regarding bandwidth restriction and faulty bandwidth meters on AT&T's network, only to have an AT&T spokesperson tell me "well, there's nothing we can do unless more people complain". 



    That's the problem, is that the FCC gets our letters and doesn't review policies that could solve our complaints. The FCC just hands the complaints to the carrier and says "Here Mr AT&T, you have a complaint to deal with, and the FCC doesn't care". 



    I hope you enjoy upgrading to a metered plan like the rest of us, and enjoy the 15$ overages that AT&T already has users paying, with meters that are not regulated. Wireless carriers want to bill a public resource like a water meter and not be regulated as a public utility. The FCC is letting them do so, at the public's expense. 


     


     


    Thanks for your time,
  • Reply 29 of 37
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member

    So are you telling me the wireless carries, many of them steeped in offering traditional terrestrial network services and connectivity (including core internet backbones) did not believe that demand for wireless internet connectivity would grow? I understand that demand, growth and peak capacity are almost always out of alignment, but we have been capped at the same numbers for 3-4 years now. If the carriers ran a Chinese buffet, the buffet would have 10,000 items, the restaurant would seat 20 people with 2000 people waiting outside for a table and there would only be 3 plates to go around for everybody. Anytime some did manage to make it to the buffet a guy would yell at them "You eat too much!"

    No. It just grew beyond their expectations, and ability to keep up. More and more cables isn't something that can be just willed into existence.
  • Reply 30 of 37

    So Verizon collects from Netflix for customer streaming, and then throttles the customer anyway? (And offers the customer a more expensive data plan, without throttling their streaming.)  This is Verizon charging twice for the same bandwidth: once to Netflix and again to the consumer.  Unless Verizon exempts Netflix streamers usage from the throttling!

  • Reply 31 of 37
    Quote:


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


     

    Well that's just ignorant, IMO.  Everything that any company does should enhance revenue streams in one way or another. Revenue is the purpose of business.  Even South Park's underpants gnomes knew, despite vagueness in the process, that the end result was PROFIT.  Whether you are improving your supply chain, your distribution chain, your advertising, or the brand of toilet paper in your corporate lavatories, the result should be an overall improvement to the bottom line.  

  • Reply 32 of 37
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member
    Originally Posted by alphafox View Post

    There should have never been unlimited plans anyways IMO, people should be encouraged to save bandwidth / frequency rather than a free unlimited buffet.

     

    This is completely insane. How can anyone think this way and expect to keep his genes alive?

     

    Originally Posted by sestewart View Post


    Wireless carriers want to bill a public resource like a water meter and not be regulated as a public utility. The FCC is letting them do so, at the public's expense. 


     

    Good. It’s better than the alternative: treating cellular networks like a public utility and HAVING A GOVERNMENT GRANTED MONOPOLY with COLLUSION ENFORCED rather than litigated. 

  • Reply 33 of 37
    lorin schultzlorin schultz Posts: 2,771member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by alphafox View Post



    There should have never been unlimited plans anyways IMO

     

    Interesting thought but utterly irrelevant since they WERE offered. By carriers, to entice subscribers. No one forced them. Now that they have more business than they can handle, they want to offload their planning whoopsie to paying customers instead of taking the mountains of cash they must be making if they're so swamped with users that they can't keep up and using it to build out higher capacity infrastructure.

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by alphafox View Post



    people should be encouraged to save bandwidth / frequency rather than a free unlimited buffet.


     

    It's NOT a free buffet! It's a package offered by the carrier like any other, and users PAY for it.

     

    If Exxon offered unlimited monthly gas for $500 per month, then discovered that sometimes their pumps can't keep up, should the people who subscribed to the monthly plan be told that from now on they can only take 10 gallons at a time if the station they visit happens to be busy? If every station is busy, well, tough luck.

     

    Would YOU accept that? I wouldn't. My first question would be how much they plan to reduce the cost of my subscription since the volume of product being delivered is reduced.

  • Reply 34 of 37
    kent909kent909 Posts: 731member
    There are choices out there that allow a person avoid doing business with the likes of Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile along with all of their sub carriers. If people would just consider what their real cell phone needs are, then look around, many might discover they don't have to play their game. How many people who use a cell radio equipped device need unlimited data? I am on WiFi 95% of the time. Maybe if people didn't spend 85% of your waking life staring at a phone, some of their problems might go away.
  • Reply 35 of 37
    curtis hannahcurtis hannah Posts: 1,833member
    There advertising there towers have twice the bandwidth but 5% of useres overloads them?
  • Reply 36 of 37
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sestewart View Post

     

    Have you complainers written the Chairman yet? His email is [email protected]

     

    Below is the letter currently waiting in the inbox for a response 6 months later. Took me about 30 minutes. I'd urge you all to spend some time and show Tom your appreciation, and your thoughts on the previous commissioner's non-action. 

     

     

     

    Dear Chairman Wheeler:

     


    <...>


     

    Did you get the same generic "FCC Consumer Center response from representative TSR58" you need to fill out this form response I received?  I guess I was emailing it wrong.  :D

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