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"Not surprisingly, many of these heaviest users of the network are on unlimited data plans." -- Verizon Wireless' Kathleen Grillo

We reported two weeks ago that Verizon Wireless will begin throttling users still on unlimited data plans if they are among the top five percent of data hogs within a given billing cycle. It should be noted that Verizon Wireless doesn’t like to label what it’s doing as throttling; it prefers the term “Network Optimization.”
 
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler last week expressed his concerns over Verizon Wireless’ behavior, stating in a letter to CEO Daniel S. Mead:
 
It is disturbing to me that Verizon Wireless would base its "network management" on distinctions among its customers' data plans, rather than on network architecture or technology… 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.
 
Mead responded to Wheeler's letter in a meeting with reporters, stating, "We were very surprised to receive that letter. There were many parts that were incorrect. We have great respect for the FCC, but I'm not sure the chairman understood what we're doing exactly."


Verizon Wireless CEO Daniel S. Mead [Image Source: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters]
 
However, Kathleen Grillo, Verizon Wireless’ senior vice president of federal regulatory affairs, penned an official response to Wheeler (dated August 1) explaining the company’s rationale for throttling users. Grillo reiterated that unlike competing carriers that throttle data speeds for the remainder of the billing cycle, Verizon Wireless’ solution will reinstate “full” download speeds once a user leaves a congested cell site.
 
"Our practice is a measured and fair step to ensure that this small group of customers do not disadvantage all others in the sharing of network resources during times of high demand,” said Grillo in the letter.

 
Verizon Wireless can’t keep its all-you-can-eat buffet fully stocked and it sees no other way of curbing the appetites of its unlimited customers. "Unlike subscribers on usage-based plans, they have no incentive not to do so during times of unusually high demand," Grillo continued.
 
In the letter, Grillo also commented that other carriers have similar, "less tailored" policies that haven’t drawn nearly the same scrutiny as its Network Optimization plan, which explains Mead’s surprise by the reaction from the FCC.
 
Verizon Wireless customers on unlimited LTE plans will be subject to Network Optimization starting on October 1.

Source: The Wall Street Journal





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