John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Verizon to Butcher Speeds of Data Hogs

What an odd coincidence. Verizon Wireless introduced a new policy today that gives it the right to throttle the data speeds of its heaviest bandwidth users–just as it began accepting pre-orders for the new CDMA iPhone.

The policy is effective immediately and is intended to ensure that average data users aren’t negatively affected by the inordinate data consumption of just a few users. Says Verizon, “If you use an extraordinary amount of data and fall within the top 5 percent 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.”

What constitutes an “extraordinary amount of data”? Verizon doesn’t say, but I’m sure its subscribers will know it when they hit it, because their speeds will drop for almost two billing cycles.

And to think that just a few weeks ago, Verizon was talking up its plan to offer iPhone buyers a $30 unlimited data plan. Evidently it applies to the amount of data only, not the rate at which it’s downloaded.

Verizon says the shift in policy has nothing to do with the looming debut of the iPhone (“There’s nothing magic about the timing.”), which is widely known to tax carrier networks. But the timing here makes it hard to believe. This is Verizon bracing itself for the iPhone data deluge.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work