Last week FCC boss Tom Wheeler stated that he found Verizon's efforts to throttle unlimited LTE users unless they move to a metered billing plan "disturbing
," expressing concern that Verizon was using network management to drive profits, not to protect the network. Verizon's response was effectively everybody is doing it
, the company highlighting similar practices by T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint.
That response appears to not have sat well with the FCC boss.
"'All the kids do it' was never something that worked with me when I was growing up and it didn’t work with my kids," Wheeler told reporters today
. "My concern in this instance is that it is moving from engineering and technological issues into business issues," he said.
Verizon does have a legitimate point that Wheeler oddly appears to be singling out Verizon, when other wireless ISPs engage in similar behavior. Then again, it wasn't all the other carriers that sued the FCC in court to strip away network neutrality protections.
Of course, wireline and wireless carriers have used network congestion as a bogeyman to justify all manner of anti-competitive behavior and profit grabs for most of the decade
, leading one to wonder if this realization is new to Wheeler. Using network congestion or faux-technical justifications to justify cash grabs or turf protection is kind of what Verizon does best
if you've tracked the history of the company (remember their war on competing GPS apps? Wi-Fi tethering? Google Wallet?).
Curiously, the only remaining restriction left in the rules that didn't get stripped away by the court loss was the one covering transparency. Consumer group Public Knowledge this week filed a formal complaint with the FCC
arguing that all four major wireless carriers are violating the provision courtesy of murky network management practices. Former PK President Gigi Sohn sits as one of Wheeler's current advisers, making it pretty clear that transparency will be Wheeler's attack vector moving forward.