Packet inspection/traffic management

Verizon Nixes LTE Throttling After Backlash

Although has been doing some type of speed throttling since 2011, Verizon is now rethinking how it will optimize its 4G network after running into trouble over its latest plan to slow down network speeds for unlimited LTE users.

Verizon Wireless said this summer it would throttle back network connections for heavy unlimited data customers that have both fulfilled their minimum contract term on LTE and are on a heavily trafficked LTE site, starting this week. At the time, Verizon said that this would only affect the top 5% of its data users, but it was enough to incite the backlash of consumer advocacy groups and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , which questioned the validity of the plans. (See Verizon Applies 3G Throttling Policy to LTE and FCC Boss 'Disturbed' By Verizon Throttling .)

As a result, Verizon said Wednesday it would not move forward with its LTE optimization plan, although 3G throttling will remain in practice. The carrier issued a statement explaining that it was committed to providing an "unparalleled mobile network experience" and takes that responsibility seriously. The statement continues:

    We've greatly valued the ongoing dialogue over the past several months concerning network optimization and we've decided not to move forward with the planned implementation of network optimization for 4G LTE customers on unlimited plans. Exceptional network service will always be our priority and we remain committed to working closely with industry stakeholders to manage broadband issues so that American consumers get the world-class mobile service they expect and value.

For more on network optimization, head over to our dedicated SPIT content channel here on Light Reading.

Verizon's stated goal was network optimization for the good of all its customers, but the carrier was also looking to move those lingering unlimited customers over to its more lucrative More Everything data plans. It's far from the only operator that uses throttling as motivation either. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) throttles bandwidth use after 3GB on its 3G HSPA network or after 5GB on its LTE network, and some of T-Mobile US Inc. 's "unlimited" data plans come with a provision to lower speeds after a cap is reached.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who originally called Verizon's optimization plan "disturbing" for basing network management on data plan distinctions rather than on network architecture or technology, commended the carrier for rescinding it.

"I salute Verizon Wireless’s decision. This is a responsible action, and I commend Verizon's leadership on this issue," Wheeler said in a statement.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

brooks7 10/4/2014 | 10:46:24 AM
Re: 5 Mbps...or more! Depends on where you are looking.


Access Networks are generally 30:1 Oversubscribed.

Core Networks generally about 1000:1 Oversubscribed.

Your comment on replicated servers is not a guarantee.  About all they can do is cache pages.  Let's see them host all the servers that Google, Amazon and Facebook have.  For FREE!  How are you going to replicate World of Warcraft servers?  They have a huge player database which is the primary part of the game.  And if I pay for a guarantee, then I want a guarantee.  I want guaranteed bandwidth and performance to ALL sites.  Otherwise it is just the same as your complaint.

jabailo 10/4/2014 | 10:31:56 AM
Re: 5 Mbps...or more! The reason that the maximum bit rate is listed is that the network is massively oversubscribed

By how much? 50%?  500%?

What is the true cost of having a fully accessible, personal pipe of 5Mbps?

How can you guarantee a ping time to a server on a network that you may or may not control the path to?

With cloud technology, I am thinking that a robust net-com ISP would host replication of key sites internally...so the signal would never leave.   They could have their own Amazon, Netflix, Google, gaming servers to which they would guarantee performace.

brooks7 10/3/2014 | 1:10:14 PM
Re: 5 Mbps...or more! The reason that the maximum bit rate is listed is that the network is massively oversubscribed.  That means that you don't have your 5Mb/s engineered into the network past the access point.  

How can you guarantee a ping time to a server on a network that you may or may not control the path to?



jabailo 10/2/2014 | 11:51:07 AM
5 Mbps...or more! Why is it that ISPs always say up to 5Mbps...

Because none of them will ever guarantee a minimum speed..only a burstable maximum.

Yet what most consumers want is a guaranteed speed, at any time time of day, below which their service will not fall!

Same with ping times.

At some point these providers needs to provide customers will real standards, not just an advertisement that occasionally they might be doing what we think we pay you for!

KBode 10/2/2014 | 11:29:29 AM
Neutrality Read: We'd like to revisit this whole throttling thing after the FCC sets rules that will probably declare throttling like this entirely reasonable. I continue to be amused at WHeeler's only-recent realization that sometimes congestion is used as a bogeyman to justify price hikes and anti-competitive behavior.
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