Verizon starts data throttling today for bandwidth hogs

Verizon starts data throttling today for bandwidth hogs

Summary: Big Red is getting ready for the network impact from millions of new iPhones by throttling data speeds for customers who do too much with their smartphones.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Networking, Verizon
28

Big Red is getting ready for the network impact from millions of new iPhones by throttling data speeds for customers who do too much with their smartphones. Verizon will start limiting the speeds available to the top 5 percent of customers using the most bandwidth, to provide the best online experience for the majority of smartphone users.

Data throttling is not new; carriers have employed this technique to limit the heaviest data users for years. Basically, when Verizon determines that a customer is moving too much data on the network, it will limit the top speed that customer can get to move data around. While it makes sense to throttle the speed for the rest of that billing cycle, Verizon will also limit speed the following month, too. That's pretty excessive by anyone's standards.

It's not clear if Verizon will notify customers when they enter the throttled zone, or if service will simply be hampered. While the carrier states only 5 percent of its customers will be throttled, that's potentially a whopping number considering Verizon has 94 million subscribers.

Topics: Networking, Verizon

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

28 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Throttling is subjective, punitive and an arbitrary policy

    not a solution to management of infrastructure which should not impinge on network neutrality.

    Interesting sidebar comment, but, how did Skype become so big?: P2P

    Of course, there has been some recent 'Supernode' outages that have yet to be worked out, but here is a clear-cut case where P2P is certainly effective when put to a good and 'legal' use.

    Why not consider allowing some of the centralized infrastructure to effectively become distributed with a 'share' of processing overhead running on each device as P2P nodes?

    It would be better if SIP or Jabber were being considered, since they are open standards, Skype being proprietary.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
    • figures

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate So basically 4G=1G
      LarsDennert
    • RE: Verizon starts data throttling today for bandwidth hogs

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate
      skype took off the minute ebay sold skype, to fool investors into thinking they were on solid financial ground; despite having lost a huge portion of their community, due to poor policy changes.
      Come to think of it, ebay should have just sold itself off.
      LegendsOfBatman
  • Data throttling means one thing

    The USA cell infrastructure SUCKS just like the internet infrastructure does. Do other countries like S Korea and Japan throttle bandwidth?
    Ron Burgundy
    • For once, I have to agree with you.

      @Ron Burgundy

      U.S. is way behind Europe and Asia in providing adequate bandwidth.
      Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
      • RE: Verizon starts data throttling today for bandwidth hogs

        @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate

        It's almost laughable when I see ads touting "High speed Internet!!!" when the throughput is at best 1-2mb/s....

        Chattanooga TN should be an example for the entire nation, they have the fastest Internet...yes, it's pricey but you can get gigabit speed if you really need it.
        Ron Burgundy
    • Yes, they do.

      @Ron Burgundy<br><br>But overall SK and Japan have better infrastructures and they do expect heavier usage from their customers. As has been noted many times, the US suffers because of our geographic size. We also have a lot of obscure regulations that limit competition and discourage suppliers from entering the market or building out infrastructure. We're also the main country in the world that has major competing technologies in use, making the largest networks incompatible with each other.
      terry flores
      • RE: Verizon starts data throttling today for bandwidth hogs

        @terry flores

        [i]As has been noted many times, the US suffers because of our geographic size.[/i]

        I have seen this, too, but have always pointed to the DC-Boston corridor on the East Coast. It's not that much different than SK or Japan. Our population isn't distributed evenly.


        [i]We also have a lot of obscure regulations that limit competition and discourage suppliers from entering the market or building out infrastructure.[/i]

        Our regulations are a symptom, not the problem. The problem is our political system is financed by those who benefit from limited competition and discouraged suppliers. They feel they should get the regulations they paid for.





        :)
        none none
    • RE: Verizon starts data throttling today for bandwidth hogs

      @Ron Burgundy <br><br>Indeed. But this is exactly what happens when the US economy favors MBA programs over Engineering Programs. <br><br>You get crappy, 20-year old infrastructure, and a bunch of investment-adverse MBA & marketing types running around trying to "reset customer expectations", and "change customer usage behavior".<br><br>I mean Sprint/Clearwire/T-Mobile/MetroPCS/Cricket all can offer more (and in some cases, unlimited) service because they have four towers for every one AT&T/Verizon have.
      Veriasian Buffet
  • At first I thought this was a marketing gaffe

    Since it could create FUD with AT&T users who were considering jumping to Verizon. After more consideraton, I think it is a <b>brilliant</b> move.<br><br>It will get bothersome heavy users to self-select themselves and stay on AT&T's network, while letting Verizon skim off the cream. AT&T gets stuck with the bandwidth hogs still clogging their system on the "unlimited plan". And if AT&T is forced to publicly announce throttling themselves, that just brings it back to deuce instead of advantage Verizon.
    terry flores
    • RE: Verizon starts data throttling today for bandwidth hogs

      @terry flores Brilliant indeed. But perhaps for different reasons. I suspect most AT&T data hogs have no incentive to move to Verizon. There network access (most people's reason for wanting to switch) must not be too much of an issue. If it was they wouldn't be able to hog so much data. Many are probably also grandfathered into AT&T's unlimited plan. I suspect Verizon is using the introduction of the iPhone for cover in cracking down on existing hogs.
      jporter1000
  • Nice!

    It looks like rooting doesn't pay and Maybe Metro or T-Mobile is in my future!
    slickjim
  • Sounds fair to me

    "[i]While the carrier states only 5 percent of its customers will be throttled, that?s potentially a whopping number considering Verizon has 94 million subscribers.[/i]"

    Sounds fair to me ... it's like when the very first small business laser printers came out in the mid-to-late 1980's. They were rated for around 100,000 copies [b][i]lifetime[/i][/b]. Some businesses would buy one, print 100,000 copies [b][i]in one month[/i][/b], and then complain that the printer started needing a lot of maintenance and was becoming unreliable.

    All these companies offer their services on the basis of [b][i]average[/i][/b] use. Some people use the service a little more, and those are offset by others who use the service a bit less. But people who really want industrial-level service shouldn't expect that they can join a mainstream-consumer-level plan and just abuse the heck out of it.

    It's like Vox guitar amplifiers. Vox offered free repairs for any amps that stopped working. The Who started destroying amps on-stage as part of their performance. Then they would send them back to Vox for free repair. Eventually Vox told them that it would no longer provide free repair of amps that had been deliberately abused--so The Who dropped that from their act.
    Rick_R
    • RE: Verizon starts data throttling today for bandwidth hogs

      @Rick_R <br><br><i>All these companies offer their services on the basis of average use. </i><br><br>Then they should not have advertised their service as unlimited usage.
      Hallowed are the Ori
  • Don't OFFER UNLIMITED... IF YOU DON'T MEAN IT.

    I am ENRAGED..every time I see..."Bandwidth Hogs". There is no such thing. If you don't want people to use as much as they want to...DON'T OFFER UNLIMITED. Period. End Rant.
    condelirios
    • RE: Verizon starts data throttling today for bandwidth hogs

      @condelirios - Market speak - I agree, honest and fair treatment of customers has been lost. Also, why the following month sounds like they are sending folks to bed without any dinner when they feel like it. The airways belong to the public, time for the FCC to step-in and wake this industry up! A fair treatment for a fair return on your investment has been replaced for "BUYER BE AWARE" used car sale mentality. America needs to 'raise the bar' so we can compete worldwide, instead of spending $$$ on election perks spend it on getting the USA online for everyone. No more games from carriers as they will have so much more monies as ever person would have internet everywhere. If you want the benefits of USA market then be good corporate entities and not 'jerk' us around. Speak frankly and honestly and stop all the Market Speak.
      heredavid
  • Good

    Maybe this will allow AT&T's network to improve now that all (Or most) iPhone owners will switch networks.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • RE: Verizon starts data throttling today for bandwidth hogs

    Something Verizon probably thought about doing anyway; there was a report that indicated that Android users (regardless of carrier) used more data than the other smartphone OS users on the market. Given all of the forthcoming, super high tech Android devices to Verizon's network, they apparently decided to start this now rather than later.
    1019902735
  • Bait and Switch

    The ISPs tantalize users with high bandwidth and unlimited usage, bragging about what all they can do with it, including watching streaming video. But as soon as a customer dares to actualy stream video, inevitably he exceeds the bandwidth cap and is punished.
    skywire@...
  • RE: Verizon starts data throttling today for bandwidth hogs

    Throttling Internet speed makes as much sense as throttling Interstate highway speeds. How much congestion will there be if you have 10,000 cars traveling from point A, to point B at 70 mph? How about 25 mph? The faster they travel, the sooner the road is cleared for other traffic.

    If this is really a problem, they should use a tiered pricing structure based on volume, for everyone.
    StillLearnin