Verizon Starts Data Throttling, Content Optimization

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Along with kicking off iPhone 4 pre-orders, Verizon announced on Thursday that it is now throttling network speeds for the top five percent of its data users. The company is also now using a new data optimization system that compresses images and videos its customers see when Web browsing.

Verizon stated in a memo (PDF), “If you use an extraordinary amount of data and fall within the top 5% of Verizon Wireless data users we may reduce your data throughput speeds periodically for the remainder of your then current and immediately following billing cycle to ensure high quality network performance for other users at locations and times of peak demand.”

Verizon: Now with more throttling

Since iPhone owners tend to be among the heaviest data users on a cell carrier’s network, there’s a good chance many will be subject to Verizon’s new policy after a few weeks of use. They’ll also get to experience lower quality images and video along with Verizon’s other smartphone customers.

“We are implementing optimization and transcoding technologies in our network to transmit data files in a more efficient manner to allow available network capacity to benefit the greatest number of users,” the company said. “These techniques include caching less data, using less capacity, and sizing the video more appropriately for the device.”

Verizon added, “While we invest much effort to avoid changing text, image, and video files in the compression process and while any change to the file is likely to be indiscernible, the optimization process may minimally impact the appearance of the file as displayed on your device.”

In other words, there’s a chance that if you load the same Web page on an AT&T iPhone 4 and Verizon iPhone 4, they won’t look the same.

Verizon’s new policy may help avoid some wireless data bottlenecks, but it may also upset its new iPhone customers expecting the same surfing experience they can get with their AT&T iPhone.

[Thanks to Boy Genius Report for the heads up.]

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17 Comments Leave Your Own

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

notahappydude

Are you kidding me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Are they out of their freeeeeking minds??????????????
I’ve almost always spoken highly of Verizon.
Been a customer for years.
But I’ll leave Verizon in a heart beat if they do this.

Droid Incredible

dg4

verizon taking a techno-fascism lesson from AT&T, how disappointing. At last I made the switch before Feb! Wonder how many will use this to void their contracts? I’ll bet 5%!!!

automatictransgression

the throttling pisses me off in theory, but the image re-compression will piss me off in practice. i am not a huge data user, so i don’t think i should really be affected. but i am a photographer, and i frequent lots of photography-related sites. images already optimized for web use do not need any more compression.

class action lawsuit?

Relax

People need to relax… I’ve been an engineer for over a decade AND I have also worked in data optimization, as well as video and audio compression. Most of the new technologies used do things, such as removing colors that the human eye cannot see (or at the very least - will not notice the difference). That makes up for a large majority of compression. Chances are, you will most likely not notice a difference.

markjb33

HAHA, lmao, anyone who can remember knows, prior to the Iphone, without a doubt, cingular ALWAYS had the best network. AT&T bought cingular, and the Iphone somewhat degraded the network, somewhat. Now Verizon is degrading service BEFORE it even gets the Iphone, amazing

slorp

I?ve been a Verizon customer for five years and I despise them. Their smug attitude, giving customers less while charging them more, and then trying to claim that they’re giving us more, is infuriating.

That said, I find myself somewhat surprisingly on Verizon?s side on this issue. There are some people who believe that when they have an unlimited data plan, they have to keep pumping data through that pipe 24/7 or they?re not getting their money?s worth. Have a look at http://tinyurl.com/236gzx3 . Have a look at some of the discussion boards for residential broadband carriers. Lots of folks routinely download every binary newsgroup they can find just to keep their connection busy.

We all had a good deal with unlimited data plans until these bit-hoarders reached a critical mass. Of all the solutions to this problem, throttling the chronic offenders is probably the least objectionable.

czmyt

Modification of content like this by the carrier or ISP or other intermediary is plain wrong and should be illegal.  People should be able to trust that the content they are receiving is what they expected.  This is why every Web site should move to secure https and other non-http transmissions should also use some form of encryption.

JustinJP

I can understand the compression, as long as it can’t be noticed, but this talk of throttling has to stop. A connection to the internet is just like the sewer line exiting your house, the provider charges a fee for your line into the network, not how much shit flows out.

leonffs

Great. Now the iPhone is on the worst network in the country and the evilist network in the country. Time to start up the iPhone on Sprint rumor cycle!!

khocke

I am in the 95% group that appreciates throttling so that my connections aren’t compromised by the vast minority of users who are data hogs. What am I missing?

Richard

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOzNrO54xsY

HD Boy

“...I?ve been an engineer for over a decade AND I have also worked in data optimization, as well as video and audio compression…Chances are, you will most likely not notice a difference…”

A professional photographer…and his/her clients WILL notice ANY differences. It’s very likely this makes the Verizon network unacceptable for pro graphics work. Sorry.

elehcdn

Well, it has already been documented that Verizon has a slower network than AT&T, now with throttling that should slow them down more ...

egc52556

How much data usage does it take to put me into the top 5%?
How can I find out if this affects me?
What are the actual bandwidth effects of the throttling?

Without specifics the article and comments aren’t worth much.

bill

Just switched from Alltel to Verizon. 

As I live where there is no wired or wireless Internet, I use my phone to access Internet. 

So much for that idea.

Looks like I will need to switch again.

Chatbook

Riddle me this Verizon:  If all users cut their data use in half tommorrow, will you lower the bar and still throttle the top 5 percent?

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