Last week after getting word about Verizon’s plans to throttle data speeds for some customers, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said it was “disturbing” to him the path that Verizon was on. So disturbing that he issued a strongly worded letter asking Verizon to provide additional information to ensure the change was not in violation of some FCC directives. Verizon has now responded indicating that they are doing the same thing as other carriers.
In their response, Verizon argues that other carriers also throttle user data speeds in some situations. Verizon even provided the FCC with links to the network management plans of AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint to help drive home the point.
Verizon also points out that the announced plans are effectively the same plan that was implemented three years ago for their 3G network. The update just adds 4G connections to the mix. According to Verizon, data will only be throttled for customers on older, unlimited data plans when they are accessing the network via cell sites that are experiencing high demand. Verizon says they are actually protecting the majority of their customers by doing this,
“Rather than an effort to ‘enhance [our] revenue streams,’ 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.”
Verizon chief executive Daniel S. Mead thinks the change will only impact a “tiny minority” of users. Approximately five percent of Verizon’s customers on their 4G LTE network still have unlimited data plans and could be subject to the slowdown. Verizon notes that the network optimization does not apply to business customers or government customers who are on unlimited data plans.
The FCC indicates they are reviewing the response.