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Net Neutrality Caused Verizon to stop Throttling 3G Speeds

August 14, 2015 - Written By Alexander Maxham

While many carriers, and even ISP’s, claim that they don’t throttle, it’s still very evident that they do in fact throttle our connections. Sprint was throttling their users before the new Net Neutrality rules hit, and they have since stopped. Even though they think the new rules wouldn’t have impacted them, they don’t want to play with fire. Which is smart. Verizon has also since stopped throttling their 3G speeds, which many of us hardly ever see.

According to Verizon’s website:

“Beginning in 2011, to optimize our network, we managed data connection speeds for a small subset of customers—those who are in the top five percent of data users and have 3G devices on unlimited data plans—and only in places and at times when the network was experiencing high demand. We discontinued this practice in June 2015,”

Now, we can understand optimizing their network, they do have over 100 million devices connected and that does use a lot of bandwidth which usually results in slower speeds. But it looks like Verizon has discontinued that network optimization strategy, so perhaps it didn’t work as well as they had hoped? But still, some carriers can say that some throttling is necessary for network management.

It’s good to note that this change was done in June, the same month that the FCC voted on the Net Neutrality rules. AT&T actually still throttles their unlimited data users that go over 5GB of data usage in a month. T-Mobile also throttles their customers, however they are pretty upfront about it. In their plans they state that you get a pool of “high speed data” and after that your data is limited to 2G speeds. Which is likely how they are able to get around the new FCC Net Neutrality rules. What will be interesting is, to see if that changes in the near future.

After Ars Technica wrote about Verizon removing the throttling on 3G, they reached out to Verizon for a comment, here is their response:

“We make these types of business decisions all the time—because it was such a small subset of customers who were being impacted, we made the call to discontinue even a limited approach to throttling. Today, we don’t optimize or cap at all.”

So Verizon is sticking to the fact they were optimizing their network and not trying to drive up revenue as Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the FCC, stated last year.