Verizon Will Graciously Now Let You Avoid Video Throttling For An Additional $10 Per Month
from the you're-welcome dept
Back in February you might recall that a little something called competition forced Verizon Wireless to bring back unlimited data plans it had spent the last few years insisting nobody really wanted. But the plans nobody wanted or needed wound up being so immensely popular, they caused some very modest slowdowns on the Verizon network. As a result, Verizon announced last August that it was getting rid of its truly unlimited plan, and replacing it with a series of even worse “unlimited” plans that throttled every video touching the Verizon network. For good measure, Verizon proceeded to ban 4K video streaming entirely.
Fast forward a few months, and Verizon has now introduced a new “solution” to the company’s own caveats. Starting on November 3, Verizon will be graciously allowing you to pay them an additional $10 per month to lift these arbitrary and artificial restrictions:
“The company said on Wednesday that it would offer the option for consumers to stream 4K quality video — if they’re willing to pay $10 extra a month. The option becomes available on Nov. 3.
The nation’s largest wireless carrier by customers walked back its move from two months ago, when it introduced several new variants of its unlimited data offering — but restricted video to only 720p quality. The cheapest version of the plan reduced video down to DVD quality. The carrier faced backlash from some consumers who complained about the quality cap.
Charging you more money to obtain the truly unlimited connection you used to enjoy has become pretty standard procedure. In 2016, Sprint began throttling video, games and music unless users paid them an additional fee. The vagueness of our existing net neutrality rules opened the door to this kind of behavior, and once the FCC belatedly began realizing these kinds of arbitrary limitations could be used anti-competitively late last year, Trump and FCC boss Ajit Pai had arrived on the scene, eager to gut net neutrality rules entirely.
The problem is that once you open the door to carriers building arbitrary restrictions as to what you can do on the network — and charging you arbitrary fees to get around them — it will never stop. Investors demand their improved quarterly returns, and the pressure will be unyielding to use these kinds of arbitrary restrictions to nickel and dime consumers in perpetuity. And with the looming Sprint T-Mobile merger reducing sector competition, and the Trump administration acting as little more than a mindless rubber stamp for the interests of the sector’s biggest carriers, there’s not going to be a whole lot in place to stop it.