defends slowdown of unlimited customers' data to FCC
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[August 05, 2014]
By Marina Lopes and Alina Selyukh
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
Verizon Communications Inc defended its decision to slow
data downloads for some customers using older unlimited
data plans, telling U.S. regulators it was a "widely
accepted" and lawful part of network management.
In a letter dated Aug. 1, Verizon responded to U.S. Federal
Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, who last week wrote
Verizon Wireless Chief Executive Dan Mead to say he was "deeply
troubled" by Verizon's plans.
In July, Verizon said high speed wireless customers who subscribe to
the company's legacy unlimited data plans might experience slower
speeds starting Oct. 1.
The company has a similar policy in place for customers on its
slower 3G network.
"The type of network optimization policy that we follow has been
endorsed by the FCC as a narrowly targeted way to ensure a fair
allocation of capacity during times of congestion," Kathleen Grillo,
senior vice president of federal regulatory affairs at Verizon, said
in the letter.
"In short this practice has been widely accepted with little or no
controversy," Grillo added in the letter, a copy of which was
obtained by Reuters.
Verizon, the largest U.S. wireless carrier, noted that the practice
of slowing down certain users' networks in order to prevent
congestion has been widely used by broadband providers and its
"We absolutely know that it was the right thing to do and we know
that it was in line with the FCC's principles," Mead said on Monday,
in a meeting with a group of journalists.
Wheeler's reprimand of Verizon came as he is seeking to establish
himself as a strong defender of web users' interests and someone
prepared to punish Internet service providers whose business
practices may hurt consumers or competition.
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His efforts follow the FCC's proposal of new "net neutrality" rules
that guide how broadband providers manage web traffic on their
networks, which has drawn fire from consumer advocates, the public
and some Internet companies.
Verizon added that while its high speed network has great advantage
over its slower 3G network, its capacity remains shared and limited.
Verizon stopped offering unlimited plans in 2012. U.S. wireless
carriers have been working to shift their increasingly data-hungry
subscribers onto tiered pricing plans, which charge customers for
specific amounts of data they agree to consume.
(Reporting by Alina Selyukh in Washington and Marina Lopes in New
York; Editing by Tom Brown)
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