Verizon Wireless to Throttle Data Speeds of Heavy Users, Optimize Network

No doubt in anticipation of the millions of iPhone customers about to be let loose on its network, Verizon today announced, via a PDF memo on its website, that it will begin to throttle the data speeds of users who consume an “extraordinary amount of data.” In addition, the company will also implement technologies to “seamlessly” optimize content and data speeds.

You could go and read the memo or we can just give you the highlights right now. So, to that end, here’s what Verizon has to say in the memo regarding data speeds:

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.

I wonder how many people will be in that top 5%? I would guess a few people around our offices for sure as well as more than a few of you reading right now.

Regarding its plans for optimization of content and data, Big Red had this to say in the memo:

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.

Even if it means a few heavy data users get a bit of reduced performance, I don’t know of a better way to handle the idea of “unlimited” data. In this scenario, the vast majority of users won’t end up suffering because of a few top tier data hogs who abuse the idea of “unlimited.”

Although, perhaps in the long run we can just get rid of the idea of unlimited data all together? I know Verizon is planning on going to tiered pricing soon so maybe that’s the better way to go?

Have any thoughts? Sound off in the comments.

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