Several years back
Verizon implemented what they call "network optimization" for their 3G network, though their LTE network wasn't impacted. As Verizon explained it to me at the time
, the system de-prioritizes user packets if that user is in the top 5% of the heaviest users and if a local tower (or node) is suffering from congestion. Verizon repeatedly insisted that this wasn't the same as a user being "throttled," even if the end result was indistinguishable from throttling.
Now Droid Life
is the first to learn that Verizon Wireless will begin throttling the connections of unlimited users on the company's LTE network starting October 1:
On October 1, Verizon will expand its existing Network Optimization policy to include unlimited data customers who use 4G LTE devices and “have fulfilled their minimum contract term.” That “optimization” occurs when an unlimited data customer meets specific criteria and hops onto a cell site that is experiencing high demand.
Verizon states that the top 5% of data users were using 4.7 GB or more of data each month. Under the previous system, a user was throttled only temporarily. According to Verizon's freshly updated network optimization practices website
, unlimited LTE users may now find themselves throttled for an entire billing cycle. Again, Verizon's FAQ is quick to proclaim this isn't the same as being throttled:
How is this different than throttling?
The difference between our Network Optimization practices and throttling is network intelligence. With throttling, your wireless data speed is reduced for your entire cycle, 100% of the time, no matter where you are. Network Optimization is based on the theory that all customers should have the best network possible, and if you’re not causing congestion for others, even if you are using a high amount of data, your connection speed should be as good as possible. So, if you’re in the top 5% of data users, your speed is reduced only when you are connected to a cell site experiencing high demand. Once you are no longer connected to a site experiencing high demand, your speed will return to normal. This could mean a matter of seconds or hours, depending on your location and time of day.
One wonders how Verizon would feel if customers stopped paying them, insisting they were simply "dynamically and intelligently altering payment transit." Regardless, unlimited users who find themselves
intelligently dynamically optimized under Verizon's update system can alleviate the situation by getting rid of their grandfathered data plan and signing up for a More Everything shared data plan.