Friday, February 04, 2011

Verizon to throttle heavy users as it preps for the iPhone

Wondering if Verizon can handle all the extra traffic from the Verizon iPhone? Apparently, so is Verizon, as a recently uncovered memo points to throttling of the heaviest data users on their network, beginning Feb. 3rd, 2011.

The memo, first noted by BGR and currently still on Verizon Wireless' site, says the following:
Verizon Wireless strives to provide customers the best experience when using our network, a shared resource among tens of millions of customers. To help achieve this, if you use an extraordinary amount of data and fall within the top 5% of Verizon Wireless data users we may reduce your data throughput speeds periodically for the remainder of your then current and immediately following billing cycle to ensure high quality network performance for other users at locations and times of peak demand. Our proactive management of the Verizon Wireless network is designed to ensure that the remaining 95% of data customers aren't negatively affected by the inordinate data consumption of just a few users.
What is unclear is how a user gets into that top 5 percent of Verizon Wireless users. What usage constitutes that?

This program is somewhat similar to what T-Mobile adopted in April 2010. T-Mobile’s policy applies after 5 GB of data use is hit. However, Verizon seems to be inflicting "punitive measures" against a user who "offends," as unlike T-Mobile, who only continues the throttling for the rest of the billing cycle, Verizon will do so for a full additional billing cycle.

In addition, Verizon Wireless will be "optimizing" certain content. They state:
We are implementing optimization and transcoding technologies in our network to transmit data files in a more efficient manner to allow available network capacity to benefit the greatest number of users. These techniques include caching less data, using less capacity, and sizing the video more appropriately for the device. The optimization process is agnostic to the content itself and to the website that provides it. While we invest much effort to avoid changing text, image, and video files in the compression process and while any change to the file is likely to be indiscernible, the optimization process may minimally impact the appearance of the file as displayed on your device.
In other words, if it's grainy, it might be because Verizon has compressed it. Verizon has a detailed explanation of these "optimization" techniques at

The throttling and "optimization" techniques are something that is beginning to be seen with broadband ISPs as well as wireless carriers. We're encouraged to use more broadband (like Netflix, etc.), yet then ISPs like Comcast stick us with a data cap (although Comcast's is, admittedly, generous at 250GB). You can't have one party encouraging us to use more and then have us cut off or penalized by the broadband, even wireless broadband, provider.

You can see the PDF file here, where we uploaded it in case Verizon decided to take the original down.

Via: BGR

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