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Verizon Throttling Data For Top Users

by Emily Price | September 19, 2011September 19, 2011 8:00 am PDT

Verizon has started throttling data speeds for some of its top data users. Throttling officially went into effect last Thursday and only effects customers using 3G smartphones with unlimited data plans.

Throttled speeds will reportedly only effect the top 5% of those users, so unless you’re seriously putting your unlimited plan through the ringer, you likely won’t be effected. Those who are currently sporting 4G handsets are currently not at risk of having those speeds throttled.

The idea behind throttling top users is that the move will optimize Verizon’s network as a whole, and ensure reliability for everyone.

In a statement on its website Verizon explained the change:

Our Network Optimization practices ensure that you can count on the reliable network you expect. To optimize our network, we manage data connection speeds for a small subset of customers – the top 5% of data users with 3G devices on unlimited data plans – and only in places and at times of 3G network congestion. This ensures that all customers have the best data experience possible.

If you will be effected by the change, Verizon will notify you in your next monthly bill, although you’re likely to notice the drop in speed on your own well before then.

Verizon also claims the reduction in speed in “not throttling.”

The difference between our Network Optimization practices and throttling is network intelligence.  With throttling, your wireless data speed is reduced for your entire cycle, 100% of the time, no matter where you are. Network Optimization is based on the theory that all customers should have the best network possible, and if you’re not causing congestion for others, even if you are using a high amount of data, your connection speed should be as good as possible. So, if you’re in the top 5% of data users, your speed is reduced only when you are connected to a congested cell site. Once you are no longer connected to a congested site, your speed will return to normal. This could mean a matter of seconds or hours, depending on your location and time of day.”

The top 5% of users currently are defined as those who use more than 2GB of data per month.

What do you think about Verizon limiting data speeds? Do you think its fair to cut the speeds of just those who use the network more heavily? Will any of you be affected?


Emily Price

Emily has been obsessed with computers since the early 80s when she discovered she could play Ghostbusters on her father's Commodore 64. She...

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