FCC Questioning All Carriers On Unlimited Throttling Policies

iphone5sAccording to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, the United States Federal Communications Commission is now questioning all wireless carriers on their network management policies, asking how carriers choose when to throttle customers, including those with unlimited data plans.

In a report from Reuters, Wheeler said that the FCC had written to all major U.S. carriers about its concerns on throttling practices following its inquisition into Verizon's upcoming plan to throttle unlimited data customers during peak usage times.

"My concern in this instance - and it's not just with Verizon, by the way, we've written to all the carriers - is that it is moving from a technology and engineering issue to the business issues ... such as choosing between different subscribers based on your economic relationship with them."

Last week, after Verizon announced plans to slow down the data speeds of unlimited customers using heavy amounts of data, the FCC questioned the carrier about its policies, with Wheeler stating that he was "deeply troubled" by the decision.

Verizon responded, suggesting its throttling plans were both fair and legal, and likely to impact only a small subset of customers. Verizon also noted that several other carriers, like Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile all have unlimited data restrictions in place. According to Wheeler, pointing towards the policies of other carriers was not a sufficient response. "'All the kids do it' was never something that worked for me when I was growing up," he said.

AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have long had policies in place that allow the carriers to opt to restrict the data usage of customers with grandfathered unlimited plans in an effort to encourage users to switch to pay-by-usage tiered data plans.

While the FCC did not share the letters sent to AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, an FCC spokesperson said the letters were similar in nature to the original letter sent to Verizon. That letter asked the carrier to answer specific questions on its rationale for treating customers differently on plan type, the need for such throttling on efficient LTE networks, and the legality of throttling.

Verizon was the first to receive the letter because of the announcement of a new policy, according to the FCC spokesperson. Verizon will begin throttling its high-usage off-contract LTE customers accessing congested network cells beginning on October 1.

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Top Rated Comments

gigapocket1 Avatar
130 months ago
BIGGEST BS EVER... Lets throttle someone because they have used a lot of gigs so far... So what if they signed up for Unlimited data.. And so what if its 3 am and no one else is using the towers.. Lets still throttle their data... But ey.. if u go over to this plan.. And pay for more of our amazing fast data.. U can get those fast speeds all day long.. Its just stupid... AT&T and all the other carriers are able to renig on their end of the deal.. But as soon as we want to.. We have to pay the penalty...
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Four oF NINE Avatar
130 months ago
Isn't this a political thread?! Sounds like a state interference policy to me.... And that's coming from someone in the UK...

corporations exist at the forbearance of government. Government allows their charters and maintains a court system to enforce their contracts. Government builds an infrastructure that facilitates commerce.

Government is the people, and The People have a say in the activities of corporations doing business in their countries.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Renzatic Avatar
130 months ago
Isn't this a political thread?! Sounds like a state interference policy to me.... And that's coming from someone in the UK...

No one's called anyone a socialist, commie, or fascist yet. Give it about page 2...
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JoEw Avatar
130 months ago
Wanna know why nothing will come of this?

Because they ARE the FCC.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kenroberts83 Avatar
130 months ago
Lastly, get ready for the people who would love for the wireless industry to dilute their services to us (while maintaining or raising costs per service) because any protection from crappy policies is crudely labeled "state interference."

Fourthly, get ready for people who think that the government can both lower prices and improve services in an industry by decree. Also known as people who never made it past Econ 101.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DarkCole Avatar
130 months ago
Looks like someone isn't paying the FCC enough money now.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)