Print 41 comment(s) - last by chagrinnin.. on Feb 14 at 5:44 PM

Verizon Wireless won't make any new friends with this latest move to swat down heavy downloaders

When Verizon Wireless announced that the iPhone 4 would be coming to its network, the company made sure to make everyone know that its network was prepared to handle the onslaught of new devices. After all, Verizon Wireless is home to numerous Android devices which themselves tend to be data hungry.

Today, however, we're getting news that Verizon Wireless has plans to keep its network "in check" to ensure that it doesn't run into the same roadblocks as AT&T. Boy Genius Report noticed that the company has posted a new notice on its site [PDF] that targets heavy downloaders: 

Verizon Wireless strives to provide customers the best experience when using our network, a shared resource among tens of millions of customers. To help achieve this, if you use an extraordinary amount of data and fall within the top 5% of Verizon Wireless data users we may reduce your data throughput speeds periodically for the remainder of your then current and immediately following billing cycle to ensure high quality network performance for other users at locations and times of peak demand. 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. 

Unfortunately, there is no indication of what threshold has to be crossed before Verizon Wireless will start throttling your speeds; and there is no indication of how slow your data speeds will be after getting busted by the company.

This new measure is effective starting today for those that sign a new contract or renew a contract.

The data throttling isn't the only change coming to Verizon Wireless. The company also announced that it is incorporating new transcoding technology into its network to help streamline data transfers. You can read more info about this technology here. 

Yesterday, AT&T announced that it would be expanding its tethering data allowance from 2GB to 4GB. This was seen as a move to better align the company with Verizon Wireless' data plans for the iPhone 4.

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RE: umm
By Brandon Hill on 2/3/2011 1:12:22 PM , Rating: 4
And therein lies the rub. You have no idea how or when you'll get zapped. It will "just happen".

Now if they had come out and said that the top 5% of our users consume over 6GB, then you'd have an idea of what line not to cross.

RE: umm
By omnicronx on 2/3/2011 1:30:37 PM , Rating: 2
Now if they had come out and said that the top 5% of our users consume over 6GB, then you'd have an idea of what line not to cross.
I would tend to agree, I'm just pointing out it would not be possible to supply that metric with the way they plan on implementing it ;)

On one end it could help if users knew the hard cap, as they would then attempt to stay below it..

On the other-hand, not picking a finite percentage of users could render the plan useless.

RE: umm
By Klober on 2/3/2011 2:36:14 PM , Rating: 5
The problem with only defining it as a percentage of the highest consumers is this:

Feb 3, 2011 - Verizon looks at data usage and limits top 5% of users to 200kbs down for the next 1-2 months.
Feb 10, 2011 - Verizon again looks at data usage and limits top 5% of users (a different top 5% mind you) to 200kbs down for the next 1-2 months.
Feb 17, 2011 - Verizon again looks at data usage and limits top 5% of users (a different top 5% than the first 2 times of course) to 200kbs down for the next 1-2 months.
Feb 24, 2011 - Verizon again looks at data usage and limits top 5% of users (a different top 5% than the first 3 times) to 200kbs down for the next 1-2 months.

Just in these first 4 instances, totaling 3 weeks, Verizon has now blacklisted 20% of their users and stuck them with 200kbs (or whatever arbitrary rate Verizon chooses) for the next 1-2 months. Depending on how often Verizon does this they could have half their users stuck with low download speeds in the time period they have specified.

On the other hand if Verizon specifies a hard limit that has to be reached, along with the top 5%, then you don't have to worry about being one of the (possibly very) many in that top 5% group as long as you limit your usage to something Verizon allows without penalty.

RE: umm
By lowsidex2 on 2/3/2011 6:08:29 PM , Rating: 2
Top 5% of who? The country? The state? The neighborhood?

I realize 5% is 5%, and if they do this on a local basis it won't mean more people than a national basis. I could see myself within reach of the top 5% of my neighbors but not the top 5% nationally.

RE: umm
By someguy123 on 2/4/2011 3:36:18 AM , Rating: 2
It's unlikely that they'll be actively going for the top 5% per week. Considering they're doing this just to maintain current network stability without any large infrastructure updates, they most likely have some threshold of bandwidth use on their overall network that they need to surpass before capping their top five.

RE: umm
By paydirt on 2/4/2011 9:44:10 PM , Rating: 2
That's why what you did is called a "thought experiment". If Verizon were run by a bunch of machines then your experiment would prove to be true, if not then you are just wasting your time.

RE: umm
By Smartless on 2/3/2011 1:40:34 PM , Rating: 3
I can imagine the text message you'd get that every carrier is required to give now.

"You are in the top 5%. Congratulations."

Yay.. wait...

RE: umm
By Jeffk464 on 2/3/2011 2:29:53 PM , Rating: 2
Ah man, they are talking about me. My incredible is my only internet access.

RE: umm
By Brandon Hill on 2/3/2011 2:44:00 PM , Rating: 5
Game over man, GAME OVER!

RE: umm
By YashBudini on 2/3/11, Rating: -1
RE: umm
By PhatoseAlpha on 2/3/2011 4:07:23 PM , Rating: 2
It's wireless. If they weren't already out living their real lives, they'd just be on the computer.

RE: umm
By tastyratz on 2/3/2011 4:58:05 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree,

I think the top 5% will be filled with tethering users that exploit their services. The guy who uses his phone on his laptop to watch netflix movies every night before bed and download a few songs during the day might fill that void.

I have mixed feelings about this.

On one hand its not really exploiting because you're using the unlimited services with which you pay for, on the other hand the top 5% of users are probably the top 95% of the network usage.

I could support this kind of throttling and network management if it was responsibly and honestly implemented while remaining restricted. The problem here is that 5% turns to 7%... 10%... 15%... and then a data cap for all.
Greed has no end in sight give them a bite and they will eat the whole box of candy bars.

RE: umm
By ereavis on 2/3/2011 8:11:03 PM , Rating: 2
good call. But this is inevitable. Wired stuff just depends on better hardware to get more bandwidth, wireless is going to depend on higher frequency and smarter encoding, which is much much slower to develop. So if they're throttling the air-rate then it helps the much more real limits they face.

I'm all for rinse and repeat once a month, cuts 10% of the top user base back and fulfills the above. Verizon's been ok about keeping people happy to steal them from AT&T, so there's that going for the stop-the-facism that would occur otherwise.

RE: umm
By Uncle on 2/3/2011 10:12:09 PM , Rating: 2
They don't want you to know, otherwise they wouldn't be able to charge you on overages.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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