With the return of unlimited data on VZW, so too returns throttling

Great news for 95% of folks signing up for Verizon’s returning unlimited wireless data plan is you can download all the data you want… until you reach the top 5% of data usage at which point your usage is deemed “excessive” and your throughput may be throttled. Hooray for unlimited (within certain limits) data!

Per a notice posted on VZW’s website uncovered by BGR:

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.

Key point here is they may reduce your throughput if you hit the top 5%. So if you and everyone else are cool with your data consumption and don’t go crazy, no throttling. But if you’re streaming Netflix to your shiny new Verizon iPhone at work every day just to have something playing in the background, don’t be surprised if that video starts coming in choppy in the middle of the day.

To the extent that it’s better to slow down service to a few in order to keep the majority online without disruption, throttling makes sense. However, it’s intellectually dishonest to call the service “unlimited” while imposing a limit of a different kind. They’re clearly counting on the majority not to exceed an unspoken limit, while dealing with those who do.

Also of interest is that they’re using “implementing optimization and transcoding technologies” to transmit data more efficiently. At first glance, it seems they’re making their system more efficient, but then they clearly describe it as a “compression process”. Whatever it is, I assume it, like the throttling, will not affect most users and will be most apparent when data usage is high. Looks like VZW is more than ready for the surge of iPhone users. Guess we’ll see if slow and steady wins the race.

  

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