updated 01:00 pm EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
Company claims all the other wireless carriers do so, so it should as well
Verizon is the first mobile provider that the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has queried about Internet speed slowdown for certain customers on an "unlimited" data plan. In a response filed with the FCC yesterday, the wireless company explained its rationale for reneging on its "unlimited" promise, and noted that a user needs to consume 4.7GB of mobile data per month to be put in the class of users that it would throttle, for what it claims is a need to protect the experience of the rest of its customers on the network.
Verizon notified its LTE "unlimited" customers that throttling would begin on October 1. The carrier promises that only five percent of its users will see any impact from the speed reduction, and "only in places and at times when the network is experiencing high demand."
Verizon claims to institute throttling "under very limited circumstances" in "particular cell sites experiencing unusually high demand." The company claims that other wireless carriers have done the same, and the other companies have "been widely accepted with little or no controversy" such as that generated by Verizon informing users in advance of its decision to cut speeds after a monthly threshold has been reached. Verizon neglected to mention in its defense that it is explicitly targeting users who were promised, and paid for, "unlimited" data plans.
The company also believes that the network's capacity "remains a shared and limited resource that we must manage to provide the best experience for all of our consumers." Defending itself, Verizon claims that its customers "continue to be free to go where they want on the Internet and to use the applications, services, and devices of their choice," despite net neutrality concerns not being an issue with this information request by the FCC.
The move is widely regarded as a way to force-migrate customers over to tiered data plans, with users hitting usage caps before a throttling limit is reached. The FCC believes that the throttling may be in violation of rules Verizon agreed it would comply with in 2008.