On July 30th we reported that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler had sent a letter to Verizon Wireless over the ways they were going about their changes with unlimited data, and that he saw it as “disturbing” and that he had some concerns over throttling users on old unlimited data plans that previously had no limits. Wheelers concerns were that Verizon might be using this tactic to “further line their pockets” by attempting to induce a switch from these older plans to the more expensive tiered packages with high throttle limits of 4G data connectivity. Here we are about a week later and it seems that Verizon has finally mustered a response to some of the questions about this decision of how they’re altering their data services.
Verizon is categorizing these changes under their “Network Optimization” policy and firmly stands by their decision to throttle those who are on those older plans. Verizon says that these customers make up a portion of the top 5% of data usage customers on their network, and in times where demand for data usage may be high on a given cell site, any users on these older plans will be throttled so that high speed data can be allocated fairly throughout all other customers who are sharing the network resources on that same cell site. Verizon also apparently stated in the letter to the FCC that throttling ceases the moment that subscribers are no longer on that particular site. So for example, if you are browsing your Facebook feed with one of these older unlimited data plans at the grocery store across town and begin to get throttled, presumably that would stop once you moved off that cell site and on to another one in transit to your next destination, or whenever you got routed to the next cell site.
According to Big Red, starting in October is when anybody that is in the top 5% of data users will see the throttling take effect during situations like the ones described here. Whether or not that will effect you personally will be determined on how much internet usage you choke down each month and if you are on any of the cell sites experiencing high demand at the time.