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Verizon Responds to FCC on Throttling: 'Everybody's Doing It'
by Karl Bode 12:28PM Tuesday Aug 05 2014 Tipped by IPPlanMan See Profile
Last month news emerged that Verizon would begin throttling the company's unlimited LTE customers, unless they moved to a metered plan. Under Verizon's latest network management efforts, heavy-use unlimited customers on congested towers may find themselves throttled for the duration of their billing period. Previously, only 3G (EVDO) customers were throttled, and for a much smaller period of time.

Despite the fact that numerous carriers utilize similar techniques, FCC boss Tom Wheeler stated he was "disturbed" by Verizon's use of network management to push unlimited customers on to costlier plans:
quote:
“Reasonable network management” concerns the technical management of your network; it is not a loophole designed to enhance your revenue streams. 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.
Verizon has since responded in a letter to the FCC, insisting that only a small portion of customers will be impacted, while noting that numerous wireless carriers utilize similar network management practices:
quote:
"This practice has been widely accepted with little or no controversy," writes Grillo. Verizon goes a step further and says its competitors often have "less tailored" policies that can impact customers even when network congestion isn't an issue. Here the company takes a shot at John Legere and T-Mobile, pointing out that the "Uncarrier" gives itself the right to throttle "regardless of whether customers are at a location experiencing congestion."
How much use is considered too much use by Verizon? The company suggests that only the top 5% of network users will find themselves throttled, with around 4.7GB per month of congestion per month placing you in that metric.

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ptrowski
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Loved how Karl stated this....

"The company suggests that only the top 5% of network users will find themselves throttled, with around 4.7GB per month of congestion per month placing you in that metric".

So true. It should not be called Usage anymore, it is now called Congestion. Well played Karl!!!
sam64

join:2006-07-31
Newtown, PA

1 recommendation

Re: Loved how Karl stated this....

+1
ashman454

join:2004-03-10
Manassas, VA

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If it's Cough Cough...Congestion...then why aren't they throttling the pay per usage plan people who pay for 10 gigs or 20 gigs or ETC!!

ptrowski
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Re: Loved how Karl stated this....

Exactly.

dvd536
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its all about the benjamins!
houghe9

join:2008-02-27
Lexington Park, MD

what speed

what speed are they slowing it down to?

gaforces
United We Stand, Divided We Fall

join:2002-04-07
Santa Cruz, CA

Wireless rules

Didn't they intentionally make the wireless rules weak? Contract disputes belong in regular courts, not public FCC bluster about things they do not have authority over.

Why does Wheeler have a backbone about these things that will accomplish nothing but advertising to make him look good?
--
Let them eat FIBER!
existenz

join:2014-02-12
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Re: Wireless rules

Wasn't there a condition to not throttle on 700Mhz spectrum? Tmobile and Sprint don't have 700Mhz so don't have that restriction.

karpodiem
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Re: Wireless rules

I recall that case pertaining to tethering, not network management - »lifehacker.com/5933152/the-right···s-to-you
ashman454

join:2004-03-10
Manassas, VA

1 recommendation

Yes, they did.....

»www.fcc.gov/document/verizon-wir···tigation

or the juicy bits

Verizon Wireless offers customers its 4G LTE service on C Block spectrum. Verizon Wireless bid at
auction to acquire that spectrum, understanding that it was accompanied by open device and application
obligations. Specifically, licensees offering service on C Block spectrum “shall not deny, limit, or restrict
the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee’s C Block
network,” subject to narrow exceptions.
P. Michele Ellison, Enforcement Bureau Chief, said, “This case was the first of its kind in enforcing the
pro-consumer open access obligations of the C Block rules. It underscores the agency’s commitment to
guarantee consumers the benefits

gaforces
United We Stand, Divided We Fall

join:2002-04-07
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Re: Wireless rules

So the FCC does have authority. Wheeler is doing his job and Verizon is trying to squirm out of the agreement claiming it's network management.
Thank you for the correction and understanding of the details.
--
Let them eat FIBER!

IPPlanMan
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Usage doesn't mean congestion...

The two aren't related. I don't know why this is so hard to understand.

I mean, just ask Sprint: any level of usage is congestion or at least looks like it.
existenz

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Re: Usage doesn't mean congestion...

I realize you're upset Sprint hasn't completed Spark in DC (and justly so) but I get 20-60Mbps in completed Spark area any time of day with no congestion.

IPPlanMan
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Re: Usage doesn't mean congestion...

Sounds good to me, but as the saying goes: "all politics is local".
broadbandmav

join:2014-01-08
Norwalk, CT
You would think Sprint would be happy that someone is using their network...

IPPlanMan
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Re: Usage doesn't mean congestion...

They are... Sort of.

karpodiem
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1 edit

while I have quite a few issues with telecom policy in this country...

this is not one of them.

What's actually happening, on the ground - grandfathered VZ users in a major US city just pounding a tower with Netflix, streaming video, whatever. These towers are now congested, with other users experience severely degraded performance.

Good or bad, this is what's happening. Verizon can refuse to serve you, as a customer. They are free to end the contract at any time. Other providers have essentially killed their unlimited. I'd like to see the Droid-Life or DSLR crowd who were posting screenshots of hundreds of GB of usage try this on any other carriers. You would be stopped cold.

So with this new policy VZW is still letting you hit that tower hard, provided it's during off-peak hours. Now the real question here - isn't this highly site specific? What level of congestion (as a percentage) relative to total capacity, triggers this throttling? Isn't this dependent on what kind of backhaul the site has and whether AWS is being used at the site?

Time will tell, and we will need to stress test and crowdsource the data, either here or on Howard Forums.

IPPlanMan
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Re: while I have quite a few issues with telecom policy in this country...

It would be nice if they were transparent as to what loading/congestion level triggers this.

Furthermore, if they really want to do this, they should throttle everybody, more everything included.

Or, throttle your unlimited customers once they reach your top tier of data based on congestion...
--
"We're going to start at one end of (Fallujah), and we're not going to stop until we get to the other. If there's anybody left when that happens, we're going to turn around and we're going to go back and finish it."
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openbox9
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Re: while I have quite a few issues with telecom policy in this country...

said by IPPlanMan:

It would be nice if they were transparent as to what loading/congestion level triggers this.

said by Network Optimization Practices :

To optimize our network, we manage data connection speeds for a small subset of customers - the top 5% of data users on unlimited data plans - and only in places and at times when the network is experiencing high demand.

Seems fairly clear.

IPPlanMan
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Re: while I have quite a few issues with telecom policy in this country...

No it isn't. What tower congestion level triggers this?

karpodiem
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actually it's not. There are two components to this - the maximum number of simultaneous data connections to the tower (users) and the total bandwidth the tower has. You conceivably could have 5 unmetered connections using all of the tower bandwidth (backhaul).

You could also have 5000 'metered' users on a tower, which is the maximum number of users the tower supports.

What percentage of total capacity, for each of the two variables, yields throttling? Verizon has yet to say.
openbox9
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Re: while I have quite a few issues with telecom policy in this country...

I would suspect that if there's contention, the throttling engages.

Rambo76098

join:2003-02-21
Columbus, OH
That's not tower loading/congestion level. That's an individual's overall usage. Two completely different things.

IPPlanMan
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Re: while I have quite a few issues with telecom policy in this country...

Exactly.

Usage on a tiered data plan is usage.
Usage on an unlimited data plan is congestion.

/snark
tmc8080

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Re: while I have quite a few issues with telecom policy in this country...

Tower Friction. You need to pay more for the tower to send you the bits faster.

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN5UR3Wf33o
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

2 recommendations

The level depends upon the situation on the sector. It appears they put the users into two QoS buckets. The "paying" undergo normal traffic management, and the "freeloaders" get de-prioritized into a lower tier. WHAT that level of QoS IS has not been divulged.

Also I can somewhat agree with the logic, what is appalling is further down in the FAQ they mention that if you get "labeled" a bad actor you could be put into the penalty box (under throttle conditions) for up to 60 days. What is also disturbing is that like the other yoyos if you say use 30GB at 2AM when nobody is on the cell, this still can put you in the penalty box during the day when say there are more users on. So really its looking more like AT&T draconian model every day, without the fixed hard cap.

The whole thing seems fairly arbitrary, which these guys like because the whole reason for this is to frustrate users to move to the vastly overpriced plans. At that point you are better off going MVNO and if you don't like the arbitrary rules, you go elsewhere.

battleop

join:2005-09-28
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"It would be nice if they were transparent as to what loading/congestion level triggers this."

They are not going to give their competition's marketing monkeys any help.
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ptrowski
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So let me ask a question. If that is true, how does that congestion mysteriously disappear when moved to a tier plan? AT&T is the same way....
openbox9
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Re: while I have quite a few issues with telecom policy in this country...

It doesn't, but you pay for the privilege to be throttled by the congestion like everyone else.
sonicmerlin

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Re: while I have quite a few issues with telecom policy in this country...

Your words make no sense. Singling out only unlimited users is an obvious ploy to shift them over to tiered plans. That's artificial network management.
openbox9
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Re: while I have quite a few issues with telecom policy in this country...

What exactly do you think my words imply

karpodiem
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how can this be known if the throttling policy hasn't been enabled yet?

•••

ev

@74.140.91.x
Yeah, except for that whole part about them intentionally neglecting wirelines in a major US city like NYC -- practically forcing people over to wireless.

Verizon refuses to upgrade miles and miles and miles of copper to fiber. They should least spend a buck or three of their insane profits to throw up more sites in heavily congested areas and call it a day.

But they don't want to do that, either.
sonicmerlin

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said by karpodiem:

. Verizon can refuse to serve you, as a customer. They are free to end the contract at any time. Other providers have essentially killed their unlimited. I'd like to see the Droid-Life or DSLR crowd who were posting screenshots of hundreds of GB of usage try this on any other carriers. You would be stopped cold.

In that case Verizon is free to cut off service to all their unlimited customers. That would only alienate... 22% of their customer base? I'm sure their shareholders wouldn't mind a massive, unprecedented overnight revenue drop.

AT&T is the only other carrier to get rid of unlimited. As for people posting screenshots, you obviously haven't perused Sprint or T-mobile forums before. People do the exact same thing there. You really think Verizon's users are somehow special?

karpodiem
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Re: while I have quite a few issues with telecom policy in this country...

said by sonicmerlin:

said by karpodiem:

. Verizon can refuse to serve you, as a customer. They are free to end the contract at any time. Other providers have essentially killed their unlimited. I'd like to see the Droid-Life or DSLR crowd who were posting screenshots of hundreds of GB of usage try this on any other carriers. You would be stopped cold.

In that case Verizon is free to cut off service to all their unlimited customers. That would only alienate... 22% of their customer base? I'm sure their shareholders wouldn't mind a massive, unprecedented overnight revenue drop.

AT&T is the only other carrier to get rid of unlimited. As for people posting screenshots, you obviously haven't perused Sprint or T-mobile forums before. People do the exact same thing there. You really think Verizon's users are somehow special?

can you provide a citation to Verizon still having 22% of their postpaid customers still on grandfathered unlimited and link a screenshot a Sprint/T-Mobile/AT&T (any of the three would work) customer using more than 50GB in a month?

Verizon would _love_ to get rid of a most of these unlimited users or put them on metered data. There is no in-between, and they have no intention of keeping the prior status quo with respect to unlimited data. They'll lose a good chunk sure. They've been losing post-paid subs for two quarters now and adding tablets to offset this (wtf?), because the public is too stupid to realize that they can tether their phone to their tablet, and love free tablets on a 2-year agreement.

Goliath2k
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Re: while I have quite a few issues with telecom policy in this country...

said by karpodiem:

link a screenshot a Sprint/T-Mobile/AT&T (any of the three would work) customer using more than 50GB in a month?

»Hello to all who are inside the coverage area for T-Mobile LTE

ieolus
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How is it that unlimited customers on that tower can successfully "pound it" with Netflix or whatever... but those on limited plans for some reason have degraded performance? Some kind of magic is happening on that tower!
--
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•••••

sbrook
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Everybody's doing it ... trying to rape the customer any way they can

We've seen this in Canada for wire based internet services.

Originally it was "congestion", and there was ... but as technology improved it became more and more apparent that throttling was purely for monetization and our regulator realized this and required that ISPs clearly state the traffic management protocols and make them temporary.

The result = throttling went away and the emphasis on caps resumed as a way to "reduce congestion", which has been proven a bald faced lie, since congestion is essentially an instantaneous problem where caps are a monthly process. People downloading when others aren't about are still getting hit by caps, and congestion during the peak hours continues.

They're both just a way to rake more money from the consumer.

koitsu
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Re: Everybody's doing it ... trying to rape the customer any way they can

quote:
"This practice has been widely accepted with little or no controversy," writes Grillo.
Apparently Kathleen Grillo was not aware of the Comcast debacle. Yes, that had slightly different ramifications (injecting falsified TCP RST opens a humongous can of worms), but Comcast's goal was to throttle.

I haven't forgotten you, funchords See Profile!

So no, it is not "widely accepted with little or no controversy". It's "commonly used" but often with a large amount of controversy if applied to core pieces of infrastructure or major points of ingress/egress (versus, say, throttling an individual customer who is behaving badly / destroying things for everyone else).
--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.
houghe9

join:2008-02-27
Lexington Park, MD

i am.so tired

" Verizon can refuse to serve you, as a customer. They are free to end the contract at any time. "

I am so tired of hearing that. I should thank them for using ky because hey they could be screwing you without? Unlimited is unlimited. They should be required to sell it or quit not continue to bastardize it and still call it unlimited.
broadbandmav

join:2014-01-08
Norwalk, CT

Re: i am.so tired

Their goal is to "tick off" the unlimited customers until they leave or switch to Share Your Wallet plans.

Ending device subsidies on grandfathered plans, no free tethering, and now throttling what you pay for
houghe9

join:2008-02-27
Lexington Park, MD

Re: i am.so tired

agreed i am just tired of hearing the opinion that because they could take it away that it is ok to let them screw me. that opinion is totally invalid.

i have a boring story of getting raped by verizon i would like to share.

my kids were on a 2gb share everything because it is great for every customer. my son was streaming youtube late on a friday night through wifi and fell asleep. his mom was cleaning the next morning and accidentally unplugged that router so it dropped to verizon data. i start getting alerts that the data was almost over the limit that will be 15 dollars or 10 if you upgrade...feeling a twinge in my backside and remembering prison movies i decided to pay the 10. about an a little while later i get another warning..again prison movies i pay and again it happened then he finally woke up. never once did they give me an option to have it stopped or cutoff for the month. but hey i saved 15.00.