Verizon CEO In A State Of Denial: Pretends Broadband Is Great... But Also Says He Wants To 'Throttle' Heavy Users

from the that'll-go-over-well dept

It would appear that Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg is in a bit of denial. While it's true that there are many different ways to rank broadband by country -- and pretty much all of them are flawed -- in general the US tends to rank about 15th on a variety of different studies. But Seidenberg is hearing none of that. When asked about it, he insists that the US is clearly number one in broadband and that it's "not even close." Though, as you read the details, he sort of switches back and forth between wireless and wireline -- and in wireless, it's at least a little trickier. But, no matter what, the "not even close" statement is not even close to reality.

What may be even bigger, though, was Seidenberg's separate claim that the company is going to throttle video users:
But when we now go after the very, very high users, the ones who camp on the network all day long every day doing things that -- who knows what they're doing -- those are the --

MURRAY: It's video, right? I mean, it's video.

SEIDENBERG: But those are the people we will throttle and we will find them and we will charge them something else.
Now that's a pretty questionable statement. Just as the government is having a big showdown over net neutrality, to have the CEO of one of the main telcos saying he's planning to throttle video users -- something that Verizon lobbyists have been saying would never happen -- seems like a potentially damaging slip up.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Apr 8th, 2010 @ 2:53pm

    Non Sequitur?

    Perhaps it's something of a double entendre...
    He could be alluding to 'throttle' as in 'to have one's hands around subject's neck whilst squeezing and shaking subject in a vigorous fashion."

     

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  2.  
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    Dan, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 2:57pm

    Throttle users? I'll drop you so fast, Verizon.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 3:09pm

    Doing my part to save the Corn Farming Industry

    I recently changed to Fios so I could watch NetFlix and Youtube on my network-enabled BluRay player on my 72 inch TV. It works real well, but recently it it started slowing down. Luckily, I am used to buffering because of my previous ISP.

    A few years ago, I realized if I bought "unsalted and unbuttered" variety of popcorn, and manually applied the salt and butter, I could make it through half the bag of popcorn before the movie would stop and need to cache. The short break would allow me to go back to the kitchen and apply more "salt and butter-flavored topping" on the second half of the popcorn without getting mad and cursing my ISP. The timing worked great. I got into this habit because of terrible bandwidth and network problems. You know, like Comcast. Remember those frequent popcorn breaks? I'm sure you do. You probably refer to it as "Comcasting your customers" and laugh and laugh while you count your money.

     

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  4.  
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    scote, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 3:10pm

    Self contradiction?

    If US broad band is sooooo great then, er, why is it that Verizon is overwhelmed by broadband hogs watching video? If our broadband is so great, wireless or otherwise, then there should be no possibility of any user "hogging" the bandwidth.

     

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  5.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Apr 8th, 2010 @ 3:15pm

    Did He Even Say That?

    Mike,

    Did Seidenberg even say video? Sounds like the interviewer, Murray, said video, and Ivan just continued with his sentence.

    Because if he means throttling heavy users, and forcing them into a higher tier, that's his prerogative, and the network is still neutral based on origin of content or type of content traffic.

    But if he means specifically throttling video, then he is CHOOSING WHICH TYPES OF CONTENT OR APPS the user can access, and that goes against a neutral network. And I call shenanigans.

     

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  6.  
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    crade (profile), Apr 8th, 2010 @ 3:47pm

    Re: Did He Even Say That?

    It's his prerogative either way, as long as he is honest about the service he provides. If you ask me, the problem comes when they are deceptive and don't disclose the criteria for throttling people. This is basically fraudulent if you ask me, unless they either disclose the criteria or advertise that you are only paying for whatever bandwidth they feel like giving you at the time.

     

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  7.  
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    DetRoiT_east, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 4:09pm

    Did He Even Say That?

    I guess "UNLIMITED" is only unlimited till they decide you have had enough.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 4:15pm

    Re:

    Throttle users? I'll drop you so fast, Verizon.

    Where will you go?

     

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  9.  
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    Alice Ziegenfuss, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 4:16pm

    Sounds like the CEO is really the Madd Hatter.

     

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  10.  
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    btrussell (profile), Apr 8th, 2010 @ 4:24pm

    Broadband is sufficient because you can't use any more than they allow you.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 4:27pm

    Re: Did He Even Say That?

    Did Seidenberg even say video? Sounds like the interviewer, Murray, said video, and Ivan just continued with his sentence.

    Seidenberg was going on, Murray interrupted him, Seidenberg stopped, Murray asked a clarifying question and then Seidenberg responded. I would think that Seidenberg's response should be considered to be to the current question. That's the way I see it, anyway.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 4:29pm

    Re: Re: Did He Even Say That?

    It's his prerogative either way, as long as he is honest about the service he provides.

    Kind of like it's okay to beat your wife, as long as you're honest about it.

     

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  13.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 8th, 2010 @ 4:40pm

    Re:

    If you have a contract with a early termination clause, dont drop them call them and complain then call the better business bureau once a month. They have to answer every complaint. Then ask your neighbors to do the same thing.

    The same thing was done in the mid west as a trial and the idea was dropped by the telco-ISP involved because of the uproar. (I couldnt find the link)

    better business bureau

     

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  14.  
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    AnonCow, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 5:18pm

    I'll pay for premium bandwidth caps as soon as Verizon removes "unlimited" from 100% of its marketing material...

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 6:40pm

    What if his customers say "if you try to throttle us, we'll throttle you!"

     

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  16.  
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    Dave (profile), Apr 8th, 2010 @ 6:42pm

    More of the same

    None of them are going so say video specifically, it is all about the bittorrent boogey monster. With the new court ruling it will be just one after the other with ISPs . It is much like the airlines charging for checked bags.

    Comcast is the biggest player and Verizon has the most bandwidth and if they are doing it why would anyone else not do it in an uncompetitive market?

    The thing that makes me most want to throw up on this guys shoes is the boasting about how much more per person usage we have and our super advanced tech.

    Guess what smart guy, there are about 50 million Americans with these smart phones, blu-ray players, and Ipads who will want to be watching video at the same time in the next year.

     

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  17.  
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    Think of the corn farmerz, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 7:01pm

    Re: Doing my part to save the Corn Farming Industry

    LOL !

     

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  18.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Apr 8th, 2010 @ 7:43pm

    Re: Re:

    I hope it Works...
    This is why I left Comcast.

     

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  19.  
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    fishbreadpie, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 8:39pm

    i want what i pay for

    *snaps verizon phone in half* there, now thats taken care of,

    if i pay an isp, lets say comcast in this case, for 7mbps, then darnit, I want my allotted 7mbps, does it matter im watching hulu and not fancast? it shouldnt, if i want to watch netflix on my blu-ray instead of my computer(which i can just hook up to my tv anyway, but id rather surf while watching netflix on my blu-ray), what has happened to the internet, i pay for a series of tubes from my house to the rest of the world, who let "comcast" decide where in my house those tubes go, and what i put in those tubes, and whether to deny me my 7mbps tube just because im downloading tube porn to my blu-ray, IM PAYING YOU FOR THE FREAKIN TUBE!!! does the city shut off services to someones house cuz theres too much corn in the pipes? NO! so to ISP'S of the country, PULL YOUR HEADS OUT OF YOUR TUBES AND GIVE ME WHAT I PAY YOU FOR!!! put that in your corncob pipe and smoke it

     

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  20.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 9:39pm

    second he doses it they lose massive numbers a customers

    ya know that guy paying 100$ for that 20/20 account
    they'll go elsewhere or downgrade so shareholders won't be happy....

    and agreed if you pay for 20 megabit you get it unthortlted
    your not gonna have everyone using that much all time were not all scene uploaders and uploaders in general and we actually have non IT lives to deal with

    so like remember that old saying
    K.I.S.S.
    applies here too don't try and confuse people now adays they associate it to scams

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 10:55pm

    Re: second he doses it they lose massive numbers a customers

    The problem is when the government is in on the scam and they start passing laws and creating a legal system that enables unregulated government granted monopolies to do whatever they want.

     

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  22.  
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    Dementia (profile), Apr 9th, 2010 @ 3:35am

    Re: Re:

    Actually they don't HAVE to respond to each and every complaint, but it does raise a lot of questions in people's minds about them if they don't.

     

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  23.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Apr 9th, 2010 @ 6:08am

    Well that saves me the effort of being interested in FIOS.

     

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  24.  
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    Joel (profile), Apr 9th, 2010 @ 7:08am

    50's coming back...

    Pretty soon we will be sending letters and saving the USPS...

     

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  25.  
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    nasch (profile), Apr 9th, 2010 @ 8:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Did He Even Say That?

    No, not really like that at all, since beating your wife is clearly both unethical and illegal, and throttling internet traffic is not obviously either of those things. I don't know of any reasonable argument that it's illegal, and I don't recall anyone making a good case that it's unethical either.

    Bad for customers, yes, but it's not unethical to do something that isn't in your customers' interest, as long as there's no deception or coercion. Competition plus transparency is supposed to take care of businesses that do those things, but we don't have those in broadband.

     

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  26.  
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    Old & New Europe, Apr 9th, 2010 @ 3:48pm

    A CEO for a listed company that lies??

    He is obviously aware of OECD numbers among others. The US come out more or less behind in all these ratings when network speed is a major factor (=his business). He is also refering to the company's relative position as a global leader, suggesting it will stay ahead. Assuming the article is correct:
    What has SEC to say about that? A CEO blatantly lying about the position, competitiveness, and customer needs & preferences of the company? Suggesting that what we sell today is the best in the world, competitively priced and no one wants more. Except a few "hogs" that we are to trottle, even if we said "unlimited" as they signed up.
    Smells to me..
    BTW, the "hogs" seems to have accumulated in the US, not much talk about them in EU anyway.

     

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  27.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Apr 9th, 2010 @ 5:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Did He Even Say That?

    Yeah. I'm with nasch. I think if Verizon is choosing which types of content or apps, it may not be illegal as the laws currently are, but is sure isn't what I want from my ISP.

    As such, I should like to have the option to vote with my dollars, and simply choose one of the many other ISPs. What'sthatyousay? No other ISP in my region? Q@#$@#$!

    And that leads me back to calling shenanigans - because I can't say it's illegal.

    1) Maybe we'll find a way to get some competition among broadband ISPs. ex: UNE-P. With competition, the free market can't steer the ISPs the right way.

    2) Even without competition, the ISPs could choose to remain neutral, to avoid blowback from a potential backlash.

    3) If the ISPs don't choose the proper path, then we're gonna need Neutrality regulation which would require them to not interfere between customers and servers, not prioritize certain providers over others, not choose which apps we can use to Tx/Rx bits.

    4) We may not get Neutrality regulation in the face of powerful lobbies influencing against consumers who don't understand the issue and congress critters who understand the issue just enough to know "it's a series of tubes". Then we're going to regress back to the AOL model where your ISP selects and edits your content options for you. The ISPs could end up as unfettered editorial gatekeepers for our content access, and the US consumer can just suck it.

    I prefer the four options in the order presented.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2010 @ 11:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Did He Even Say That?

    No, not really like that at all, since beating your wife is clearly both unethical and illegal,

    Not in some places, nor has it always been so in many other places.

    and throttling internet traffic is not obviously either of those things.

    Throttling based on content *is* unethical (unless you're ethically challenged, that is).

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2010 @ 1:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Did He Even Say That?

    No, not really like that at all, since beating your wife is clearly both unethical and illegal,

    What? You've never heard of civil disobedience?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
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    Mike Mangin, Apr 21st, 2010 @ 6:02pm

    Verizon Account Throttle Back

    After two and 1/2 years where my Verizon Broadband account was always under the 5 GB limit my account is throttled back to almost unusable speeds (less than 0.2 download and 0.1 mb upload for 30 days. Last month my daughter was at my house doing work for her business and my satellite TV was out because of weather. I downloaded two or three TV shows that we regularly watch. My wife has MS and spends much of her day on the Internet surfing as she can't do a lot of anything else. I can't get DSL or Cable modem where I live so
    Verizon is my best choice. I talked to Verizon Wireless about a one time pardon but was denied.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
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    Anon, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 12:49pm

    Probably just bandwidth, we're already used to it down here.

    Most ISPs here have a download limit each month after which they reduce your connection speed down to around dial-up (usually a bit better) or let you pay a bit extra for more data.

    The point of all this is that consumer broadband plans are based on the assumption that people aren't going to be keeping their send/receive lights flashing all day long which means that a heavy peer to peer user can actually cost money to serve (bandwidth here is more expensive though).

    The other options are to have an excess usage fee (there have been scandals about AU$10000 fees from a certain ISP due to Kazza (who I'm actually glad to see lose to the record industry) running the background) or to have an acceptable usage policy that doesn't allow you to download 'too much' without actually telling you what 'too much' is (they often define it in comparison with their other customers) until they cut off your connection.

    The biggest change though that I see here is a shift to counting download only to counting traffic in both directions, I suspect caused by increasing usage of peer to peer software (the big ISP that sent five figure internet bills was also early on that one as well).

    If you want a connection that runs at full speed all the time I'm afraid you're just going to have to accept paying for the data you use.

    There's no evidence of evil here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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