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Only A Giant Telco Could Introduce Bandwidth Throttling And Spin It As 'Network Optimization'

from the and-charging-you-more-is-merely-wallet-efficiency-management dept

Oh, Verizon. The company is ramping up its mobile data throttling on its LTE network. Basically, if you're a heavy user, your packets get "de-prioritized" (i.e., throttled). However, Verizon insists it's, like, totally, totally different.
Is this the same as throttling?
No, this is not throttling.

How is this different than throttling?
The difference between our Network Optimization practices and throttling is network intelligence.  With throttling, your wireless data speed is reduced for your entire cycle, 100% of the time, no matter where you are. Network Optimization is based on the theory that all customers should have the best network possible, and if you’re not causing congestion for others, even if you are using a high amount of data, your connection speed should be as good as possible. So, if you’re in the top 5% of data users, your speed is reduced only when you are connected to a cell site experiencing high demand. Once you are no longer connected to a site experiencing high demand, your speed will return to normal. This could mean a matter of seconds or hours, depending on your location and time of day.
In other words... it's throttling. It may be temporary, and it may only impact top users, but it's still throttling. No matter what they say. As Broadband Reports notes, this bit of Orwellian speak probably doesn't work in reverse:
One wonders how Verizon would feel if customers stopped paying them, insisting they were simply "dynamically and intelligently altering payment transit."
Of course, if the FCC actually lived up to its transparency demands, perhaps it would ding Verizon for this. What are the chances of that happening?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Geno0wl (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 5:45am

    No Guys, totally not throttling*.



    *at 5am or if you live in the middle of nowhere.

     

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  2.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 5:52am

    "With throttling, your wireless data speed is reduced for your entire cycle, 100% of the time, no matter where you are."

    I don't suppose anyone knows where they get this... rather unique definition? Is this some new way to pretend that they aren't really throttling if they don't do it 100% of the time, or is this one of the "words say what we want them to say" definitions a la "unlimited".

    If new, I wonder what the ultimate intention is. Maybe something to tie into the anti-net neutrality arguments? I mean, I can see why they'd want to state that peoples' connections can be throttled, and I can even see why they'd want to avoid that specific term. I'm just not sure why they'd so directly contradict themselves while doing so.

     

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  3.  
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    Bt Garner (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 5:52am

    I am still waiting for the comments to load.

    Sent from my Verizon iPhone

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 5:53am

    Network Throttling and Network Optimization are two terms that mean the same thing if you really think about.

    The issue is that Verizon is attempting to spin it in a positive light ... sadly.

     

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  5.  
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    Argonel (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 5:55am

    As far as throttling goes this is the least offensive version I have seen. Assuming that it is implemented as they say it is it actually makes sense as network management and to limit contention for a limited resource. specifically this means that people who are paying more (the metered customers) get preferential access over the heaviest unmetered users. Limiting the effect to congested towers rather than a blanket limitation means it should have minimal impact to most of the people who could be affected.

     

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  6.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 5:55am

    "based on the theory that all customers should have the best network possible"
    As long as we don't have to actually provide the coverage we promised them, spend any money to increase our infrastructure, and you idiots keep paying us higher prices as we deliver less.

     

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  7.  
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    Argonel (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 6:04am

    Re:

    Considering that their financial reporting indicates that they have been spending a little over $4 billion per quarter as capital expenditures. That is a lot of not spending any money on infrastructure.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 6:07am

    FCC? A completely flaccid bureaucracy. Where's the FTC in all this? I'm sure those top 5% of data users pay a pretty penny for their data. So, it would seem that Verizon wants to screw it's best customers. Why? Because they actually use what they pay for? Ridiculous!

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 6:07am

    Re:

    Except they sold unmetered users unlimited data, and are now trying to limit their data usage. This could include people who are working from home, and whose only network access is either LTE, or dial_up, and LTE becomes pointless when it is reduced to the same, or less than dial_up.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 6:08am

    Definition of Throttle as defined by http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/throttle

    "to not allow (something) to grow or develop"

    So they are "not allowing" full speed to some users during particular circumstances. Seems to meet the definition of throttle perfectly.

     

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  11.  
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    Michael, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 6:09am

    Re:

    They have completely fooled you.

    Network Optimization is optimizing the network so it is FASTER and supports the customers better. This is exactly what they have been avoiding doing - you know because it can be difficult and costly.

    Network Throttling is the opposite of Network Optimization. Rather than making the network better to support more demand, they ARE REDUCING THE DEMAND ON THEIR NETWORK BY SLOWING THINGS DOWN.

    That is the equivalent of your water company telling you - hey, we know there are a lot of people on your street using water, and they keep building houses, so what we are going to do is make everyone's water run slower with less pressure so none of you feel more f***ed than the others. Oh, and if there is a fire, nobody's toilet is going to flush.

     

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  12.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 6:10am

    Why, instead, you don't limit the connectivity to everybody using that specific tower or use the system to re-distribute the users? Or better yet, why don't you install a network that can cope with the demand? Or, you know, sell speeds you can maintain?

    Nope, better milk the users dry. Seems Verizon is jealous Comcast got 1st as the worst company in America.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 6:11am

    Does anybody still trust Verizon not let their towers degrade to the point where it's always congested and thus always throttled?

     

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  14.  
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    Michael, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 6:12am

    Re: Re:

    Have you looked at the breakdown in their financial reporting.

    It really is a lot of 'not spending money on improving infrastructure'.

     

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  15.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 6:16am

    Re:

    It's certainly a better version of throttling, but it's still throttling. Why openly lie about the definition rather than simply confirm that it's a more targeted, less intrusive version that only affects small parts of the network at a time?

    "Limiting the effect to congested towers rather than a blanket limitation means it should have minimal impact to most of the people who could be affected."

    Unless, of course, they fail to sufficiently upgrade their systems over time, and thus the towers are always congested. Which is actually one of the arguments over Netflix recently - some ISPs didn't bother upgrading and are having problems now that customers are starting to legitimately use the bandwidth they were promised. When this happens, if you've been sold an unmetered plan, then "pay us more if you want the speed you were promised" really isn't going to fly.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 6:18am

    Re: Re:

    Nope.

    Network Optimization can be the throttling of other users so that someone can have better (or worse) performance.

    Network throttling of users can be performed to optimize the performance of other users.

    Basically, it's the same thing. Optimization in no way is limited to non throttling optimization. Throttling is not limited to non optimizing throttling. They clearly overlap equally in all meanings except on may be construed to be positive in meaning and the other more negative as used by the industry.

    They're all perspective dependent. It's like the up link channel and the down link channel of a base station can be the same depending on whether you're looking from the mobile unit's perspective or the base stations perspective. The uplink of the mobile station is the downlink of the base station it is communicating with.

    T

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 6:18am

    Re:

    Their ultimate intention is, and always has been with every move like this they've made, to get people with Unlimited plans so fed up that they'll switch to one of their premium money grubbing limited data plans.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 6:19am

    Re:

    I agree that this is a good thing though the spin on it might be a bit misleading. I do have a few concerns though.

    A: I can see something like this deterring Verizon from upgrading its network and trying to use it as an excuse to justify why their network is slow at times.

    B: It would be nice if there was some indicator on the phone to tell you if you would be using your limited peak hour tokens (for lack of a better term). That is if my usage isn't going to affect others then I shouldn't have my remaining limited high speed bandwidth being used up and there should be some simple way to indicate whether or not my limited high speed will be affected.

     

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  19.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 6:23am

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, probably. I made the comment before noticing that the throttling would mainly affect unmetered customers.

     

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  20.  
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    Michael, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 6:33am

    Re: Re:

    I agree that this is a good thing

    I am baffled as to why people would think any type of throttling is acceptable. They advertise their speeds - that is what we are buying. If ANY other industry sold you something and then provided only part of it, people would be going to jail.

    Can you imagine if you bought a yearly pass for parking and they stopped you at the gate on day three and said 'excuse me sir, you parked your car for more than 15 hours in the past couple of days, we need the space for other cars so you are going to need to park somewhere else today and then you can park here again tomorrow.'? Anyone in their right mind would be furious. 'I'm sorry, I know you bought an all-access pass to the concert, but you have spent just a little too much time back stage...' 'No sir, you cannot go back to the buffet again, you have had more ribs than we expected so we are going to have to cut you off'.

    They have oversold their product. There are two solutions - make more product (you know, bandwidth, by improving the networks) or stop selling so much of it. NOBODY ELSE IS ALLOWED TO DO WHAT THEY DO.

     

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  21.  
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    Michael, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 6:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Network Optimization can be the throttling of other users so that someone can have better (or worse) performance.

    I have to disagree with you there.


    Optimization:
    an act, process, or methodology of making something (as a design, system, or decision) as fully perfect, functional, or effective as possible


    Throttling one user to improve the speed of another does not do that. It leaves the network performance the same, just trades some bandwidth for other bandwidth. Network Optimization involves actual improvement of a network overall and that is what they are actively trying to avoid doing. They are not improving efficiency, they are simply evening out performance across all of the users - making sure it sucks equally is not optimization.

     

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  22.  
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    Michael, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 6:50am

    Re:

    Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

    Oh, wait, were you really asking a question?

     

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  23.  
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    Groaker (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 6:53am

    Large companies should not be permitted to prognosticate on technological needs. The Telcos have demonstrated this repeatedly.

    Even computer companies are not good at forecasting demand.

    IBM decided that only 250,000 PCs would ever be sold.

    Ken Olsen (cofounder of Digital Equipment Corp) of from 1977: "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home."

    Thomas Watson (chairman of board, IBM) in 1943 reputedly saw a possible market for five computers world wide.

    It is only the new companies which have the real foresight to understand what is happening in the world. Verizon is not one of them.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 6:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So you can't optimize for other users by throttling other users? Better yet - you can't throttle other users by optimizing other users? Is that what you're saying? Because it sounds like that is what you are saying.

    You can't optimize something by throttling something else? WTF. I'm disappointed. Next thing you're going to tell me is that throttling one VLAN on a physical medium won't, ever, optimize another VLAN on the same physical medium? Something is wrong with the world! We're blindly using definitions!

    You're wrong. It's all perspective dependent on what you're optimizing and what you're throttling. You can throttle to optimize and optimize to throttle. If not then we're goners.

     

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  25.  
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    David, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 7:02am

    "Not throttling"

    Well, of course Verizon has to do bandwidth scheduling. Everybody has to. That's a key point of "network congestion management". And yes, past bandwidth usage and expected usage are usually taken into account for network congestion management.

    Existing payment plans and the likelihood to get someone on a better-paying plan rather than move elsewhere, however, don't usually.

    Also one has to keep in mind that "network congestion" for an ISP provider points out deficiencies for him delivering the advertised product. The solution is extending the infrastructure in order to match demand with sold capabilities.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 7:03am

    Re:

    Don't forget Bill Gates's classic memory quote.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 7:05am

    Re: Re: Re:

    " They advertise their speeds - that is what we are buying. If ANY other industry sold you something and then provided only part of it, people would be going to jail."

    Well they sell you a gigabyte or whatever of 'high speed' and then after that you get low speed. That's usually advertised though.

    I'm not saying they shouldn't upgrade their infrastructure just that allowing unlimited high speed usage to not count against the limited high speed they sell you during non-peak hours is a good thing. The alternative is to do what they were doing before and to always let high speed count against your high speed limit whether or not it's affecting others. So in a sense you are getting more in that you now have unlimited high speed usage whenever your usage doesn't affect others in opposed to having it count against the advertised limit no matter what.

     

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  28.  
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    Whatever (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 7:07am

    Re:

    Actually, what Verizon are doing here is generally a good idea, and not a bad one. It's a situation where people are trying to find bad in everything they do, and are as a result finding it - even when it's not the case.

    There are a number of ways to throttle. The easiest and most objectionable one is to take your 50 meg a second LTE connection, and only feed it data very slowly, giving you an effectively slow service at all times. You pretty much get the equivalent of a 1 meg connection.

    The second and much more acceptable way to do things is dynamic throttling. Basically, the heaviest users get throttled down enough to assure other users can get through. So everyone gets they 50 meg connection, but those who are constantly hammering on it (say streaming HD video) may see themselves getting throttled, so that people who are surfing eb pages or trying to get their mail don't get lagged.

    It's important because like it or not, there are actual bandwidth limits on mobile networks that are very hard to get around. The solution isn't bring in an extra wire or something like that, it's "add a whole new cell site". That isn't easy, it isn't quick, and it's certainly not cheap to do.

    Verizon (and almost every other mobile data provider) has to do things to assure their customers get the best experience possible - and that means ALL of the customers, not just the heaviest users. It's just sort of what has to get done.

     

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  29.  
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    jackn, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re:

    "There are a number of ways to throttle"

    THIS AINT THROTTLING!

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re:

    Or perhaps there could be an option in the settings to disable high speed whenever it'll count against you unless you specifically go back and enable it or unless you agree to some popup.

    Another concern I have with this, as pointed out by others, is that they can try to throttle your high speed even when there is extra available bandwidth just to convince you to buy more high speed. Or (as I said) they can avoid upgrading their infrastructure in opposed to providing you with more unlimited high speed which will lower the supply and increase the price of buying additional high speed.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 7:17am

    Re: Re:

    "It's important because like it or not, there are actual bandwidth limits on mobile networks that are very hard to get around."

    and this I agree with.

     

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  32.  
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    mcinsand, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 7:20am

    'throttling' still overly-sanitized

    So, they attracted customers offering A for the price of B, and they are now watering down the product for the sake of keeping the network as attractive as possible to those lower-tier customers. Am I correct in my interpretation? It looks to me like they are hoping that those metered customers might decide that they want to jump into the nonmetered billing class.

    'Throttling' isn't the term I would use; I would say 'bait and switch. This is every bit the same as a refrigerator store that offers a high end product in a sale but delivers the low end model to your door. On second thought, no, this isn't the same. When selling physical objects, knowing and showing the bait-and-switch is easy. Verizon can play games and hide what they are doing... or they can at least obfuscate and hinder detection.

     

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  33.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 7:21am

    Re: Re:

    "It's a situation where people are trying to find bad in everything they do, and are as a result finding it - even when it's not the case."

    Oh dear, even on an article this short, you still manage to miss the point and dive in to white knight whoever's being criticised.

    The actual arguments are the following:

    1. Verizon is trying to pretend this is not throttling, when it clearly is. You know, the entire point of the story you're responding to, including the headline. How did you miss this?

    2. Something addressed in the linked article but not the one above - they are not planning to throttle all traffic, just those users who pay for unlimited data. In other words, they give priority to who paid them more, not the needs of their network. Most would not have a problem with this if it affected all users equally for pure infrastructure reasons, but people who pay more don't get throttled. While some throttling is unavoidable, does this not sound like an excuse for a cash grab?

    3. In some areas, they are in a monopoly position, meaning that customer cannot simply move providers if they find this unacceptable and/or cannot even get the speed they thought they were paying for.

    Do you wish to address these actual arguments, or just the one that sounded nice in your head again?

     

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  34.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 7:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "If ANY other industry sold you something and then provided only part of it, people would be going to jail."

    Not necessarily (e.g. rolling blackouts, water restrictions during droughts). Admittedly, those examples are probably more government than private infrastructure, but those were clear examples that came to mind.

    If it's a part of standard business practice, then heads should roll, especially if it's part of an abuse of monopoly positions. A company that repeatedly refuses to provide a customer what they paid for to maximise their own profit deserves what they get. But, these things can happen for legitimate reasons as well.

     

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    Michael, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 7:29am

    Re: Re: Re:

    There are, and when each customer hits the advertised limits (not even the physical network limits) whenever they are using the network, I'll be happy.

    However, if they are selling 10 people 10mb/s connections and can only support 2 concurrent connections at that speed, they are not providing what they are selling.

    They should feel free to start advertising that their published speeds are under the best possible conditions, but may be woefully slower most of the time.

     

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  36.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 7:30am

    Re: Re:

    It's certainly a better version of throttling, but it's still throttling. Why openly lie about the definition rather than simply confirm that it's a more targeted, less intrusive version that only affects small parts of the network at a time?

    Because it's completely unacceptable to use a term that makes it sound like they're strangling their customers. It's understandable really, though I wish they had just not addressed the term "throttling" at all rather than lying about it. They certainly could have explained this practice in the FAQ without mentioning that word.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 7:31am

    Re: Re:

    I think the main point of contention is this sentence:
    "No, this is not throttling."

    You clearly accept that what they are doing is throttling and that is the point that makes your comment stand out from theirs.

    While dynamic throttling is not inherently bad, it is still mostly a reprioritizing of ressources. A more "fair" - whatever that means - distribution of limited ressources. But calling dynamic throttling network optimization to make it sound positive and denying it is throttling is rather 1984. It is a bit to the "clever" side of marketing. We are definitely closing in on straight up lying.

     

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  38.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 7:33am

    Re: Re: Re:

    If ANY other industry sold you something and then provided only part of it, people would be going to jail.

    It's probably more common than you think. Airlines oversell their seats. Movie theaters give out free movie passes that don't work for 75% of shows. All you can eat buffets reserve the right to throw customers out if they eat too much. I'm sure there are many others.

     

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  39.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 7:35am

    Re: "Not throttling"

    Existing payment plans and the likelihood to get someone on a better-paying plan rather than move elsewhere, however, don't usually.

    You seem pretty sure of this. How do you know?

     

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  40.  
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    clemahieu (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 7:36am

    With wireless CDMA systems there are three plain limits at work, the link capacity out of the cell tower, the link capacity of a single handset to the tower, and the maximum number of individual handsets that can be connected to the tower, an idle connection still takes a certain amount of resources to stay connected, this is how your handset gets found if there's an incoming call.

    It's quite easy to understand that the maximum link capacity of an individual handset times the number of people might exceed the tower's total link capacity.

    In fact the problem isn't even that easy, as with most wireless system like wifi etc. the maximum wireless link capacity isn't an on/off switch, it's a gradual increase of errors resulting in dropped packets or codec errors approaching a point where the quality degrades to unacceptable or the codec can no longer correct errors.

    'Throttling' in the vernacular implies slowing an individual handset's speed when the tower's link is not being reached.

    QoS is technical throttling when we're hitting hard limits of the hardware at hand.

     

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  41.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 7:36am

    Re: 'throttling' still overly-sanitized

    It looks to me like they are hoping that those metered customers might decide that they want to jump into the nonmetered billing class.

    I think the other way around, isn't it?

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 7:37am

    Re:

    Terms Of Service

    5am users may experience less than optimum speeds due to "sleepy bit syndrome".

    Middle of nowhere customers may be subject to tower under-utilization fees.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 7:44am

    Re: Re: Re:

    This. I think more people are annoyed by the dishonesty in trying to market the term than saying straight up what it is and being honest about it.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 7:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I agree that the way they advertise it could be a bit misleading. Perhaps they can sell high speed 'prioritized bandwidth' meaning that bandwidth that counts against your bandwidth limit is prioritized against bandwidth that doesn't count against your limit (during peak hours). But I would hate for my prioritized bandwidth to be congested and slow and to also count against my limit because so many people are also using their prioritized bandwidth as well. and, to that extent, they need to either make sure they can reasonably provide everyone with reasonably high speed prioritized bandwidth whenever it's counting against their limit or they need to be very careful about how they advertise their service during very high congestion, perhaps even disabling prioritization altogether (but that would then defeat the purpose of having prioritized bandwidth as well? See how this gets confusing).

     

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    Bengie, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 8:07am

    Usage

    Making sure high usage users don't take an unfair amount of bandwidth is one thing, but setting them as lower priority is entirely another.

    The difference is if a tower is highly congested, then the users that are flagged will get between less and no bandwidth compared to other users.

     

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  46.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 8:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I agree that the way they advertise it could be a bit misleading."

    A bit? It's just plain lying.

     

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  47.  
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    Michael, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 8:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Airlines oversell their seats

    Yes. I love this example. They give you your money back or another seat, they don't tell you to walk or take a bus. They are regulated to NOT INTENTIONALLY oversell.

    I'm not one to look at the airlines and suggest that they have good business practices, but if internet providers had to act the same way airlines did, every time I went to use my internet connection and got a lower speed, I would get a discount or more bandwidth would be made available than I paid for at a later time.

    I would actually be happier with that than paying for something, not getting it when I ask for it, and then just being told "well, that's just because we sold it to someone else also".

    I bought 4 pounds of peanuts - give me all 4 pounds when I want them, and if you sell 4 pounds to someone else, they still cannot have the 1 pound I am not going to eat.

     

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  48.  
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    Michael, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 8:15am

    Re: Usage

    Making sure high usage users don't take an unfair amount of bandwidth is one thing

    What are you calling an "unfair amount". I would say that an "unfair amount" is more than I paid for. If I paid for 5GB of 10mb/s internet and then an unlimited amount of 2mb/s, unfair would be more data usage than 10mb/s until 5GB is entirely used up (you know, constant streaming of data) or more than 2mb/s for the remainder of the billing period. If you call anything less than that unfair, you are saying that it is unfair to use exactly what you paid for.

     

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  49.  
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    Michael, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 8:17am

    Re:

    As far as throttling goes this is the least offensive version I have seen

    That's like giving congress the least untruthful answer to a question under oath.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 8:18am

    Re:

    > "With throttling, your wireless data speed is reduced for your entire cycle, 100% of the time, no matter where you are."

    I've never heard "throttling" described this way, but then again, it's coming from the same company that uses the term "optimization" to describe worse service.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: Re:

    doesn't this already exist with, for example, exponential back-off in congested networks? if you don't throttle when there's congestion, then your other option is to drop packets. exponential back-off should be fine in most cases, so i wonder why they single out the top 5% of data users for priority when throttling. i can think of a couple of reasons but i'm just pulling these out of my ass:

    1. their network is weak, so they want to deter the heavy users.

    2. users in the top 5% probably have unlimited plans, meaning they can't be charged for going over a limit, whereas occasional users can go over the limit and be charged fees.

     

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  52.  
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    Michael, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So you can't optimize for other users by throttling other users? Better yet - you can't throttle other users by optimizing other users? Is that what you're saying? Because it sounds like that is what you are saying.

    Nope. What you are describing is not network optimization, you are describing network prioritization. To increase the optimization of a network, you need to get more data through it in the same amount of time or the same amount of data through it in less time. What you are describing is not doing that, it is simply making some data higher priority than other data.

    Next thing you're going to tell me is that throttling one VLAN on a physical medium won't, ever, optimize another VLAN on the same physical medium?

    This is not optimizing the physical network, it is just setting priority for one VLAN over another. Now, if you have specific times when traffic is low on one VLAN and high on the other and then the reverse at other times, assigning more bandwidth to the high-traffic VLAN at the right times could improve the optimization of the entire network.

    To optimize, you need to use the most of your UNUSED bandwidth. If you have no unused bandwidth and you cannot pack things together more tightly, all you can do is prioritize or improve your infrastructure.

     

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  53.  
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    Michael, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think it is even a bit more underhanded than your two reasons. I think it's marketing.

    If you cannot support the requirements of your users, pick a small group that can be easily demonized and make them suffer. Then when they are complaining that they are being throttled, you can simply point and say - 'well, you are a bandwidth hog and using more than your share' and the majority of your customers will not care.

     

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  54.  
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    Michael, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm not "throttling" the air going into your lungs, I'm just prioritizing the air because you use more of it than some other people and that's not fair.

    Either way, someone's getting choked to death...

     

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  55.  
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    Michael, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 8:36am

    Re:

    Didn't SCOTUS just rule that if it sounds like you are choking a duck, you are choking a duck?

     

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  56.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "They are regulated to NOT INTENTIONALLY oversell."

    And yet they do intentionally oversell seats. I was at an American Airlines counter recently, and they even have a sign there saying that they do this.

    That they refund money or rebook the seat they took from underneath you doesn't make the practice OK. It's still awful, and that refund/rebooking doesn't make it OK that you missed a critical business meeting.

     

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  57.  
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    Michael, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 8:39am

    Re:

    I don't suppose anyone knows where they get this... rather unique definition?

    They have taken a page from the DOJ playbook and come up with their own secret interpretation of lots of words.

    They call it the: "Dick-Shun-Airy" after themselves, what they intend to do to their customers, and the light, fluffy feeling they get from rolling in piles of money.

     

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  58.  
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    Tobias Harms (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 8:40am

    "So, if you’re in the top 5% of data users"
    Won't this lower the amount the top users can download? So with a bit of luck Verizon can continually lower how much a top data user uses. Thereby they can change what the definition of what a top user is.

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 8:41am

    "...your speed is reduced only when you are connected to a cell site experiencing high demand."

    Isn't this what naturally happens to all users when there is congestion due to high demand?

     

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  60.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re:

    financial reporting indicates that they have been spending a little over $4 billion per quarter as capital expenditures.

    Enron had lots of reporting too.

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 9:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What I've seen when this happens is they usually offer vouchers to compensate for the inconvenience to people who are willing to give up their seat and take a later flight instead of offering a refund.

     

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  62.  
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    boomslang, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 9:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > A bit? It's just plain lying.

    We prefer the term "truth optimization".

     

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  63.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 9:03am

    Re: Re:

    Actually, what Verizon are doing here is generally a good idea, and not a bad one.

    Spin and lying is a good idea?

     

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  64.  
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    Michael, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 9:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Like I said, I don't think their practices are great, but it is still better than the telcos.

    I have never gotten a refund from Verizon when I went to use my phone and the network was so clogged up I couldn't download any porn.

     

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  65.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 9:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    > they are not planning to throttle all traffic, just those users who pay for unlimited data. In other words, they give priority to who paid them more

    It's the opposite of this. Throttle means reducing network speed. Verizon is reducing network speed to people with unlimited plans once they've met a certain threshold, or limit, of data usage.

     

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  66.  
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    AnonCow, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 9:25am

    It was not rape. It only happened intermittently and with the least possible impact. It was only seconds, or maybe hours...

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 9:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    up to* 1 gallon of gas = $3.50
    up to* 6 bottles of beer = $7.99
    up to* 2.5 hours of the new Avengers movie, in up to* 3 dimensions = $9.50
    up to* 900 pages of the new George R. R. Martin book = $19.95
    up to* 1/4 pound of "meat" in your meatburger = $2.99
    up to* 100% of recommended safety features in your new car = $30,000

    *Actual product may be significantly and deliberately less than advertised. Get bent and go pound sand.

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    With the airlines, it's a little bit different though and it's actually designed to be a benefit for the consumer. What happens there is people are allowed to purchase standby tickets at a reduced rate in order to fill up flights that are not completely full. People who have purchased full fare tickets and checked in on time prior to the release of unclaimed seats do not have problems with getting bumped from a flight due to overselling. People who want to take advantage of the reduced rate though have that possibility. The problem comes into play when someone has paid the full rate, has an assigned seat, misses the check in time, someone else has already been given their seat and the flight has been filled already with standby passengers.

     

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  69.  
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    Whatever (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I am baffled as to why people would think any type of throttling is acceptable.

    Simple: mobile bandwidth in a given coverage area isn't infinite. There are limits. The alternate to throttling to balance the network is cutting people off completely, or total congestion and poor network response for all.

    The reality is that if a lot of people are suddenly in a a cell zone, they can (and do) overload the finite network.

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 9:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    More like selling a dream and hoping that customers only dream about using the service.

     

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  71.  
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    Groaker (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Optimization and throttling go on continuously, both inside most computers as well as outside. The real issue here is not that someone is averaging 90% of what they are paying for 90% of the time, but rather that all too many are getting 1 or 2% of what they are paying for, 90% of the time.

    Almost no one will notice if they are getting 50% of the promised rate, but when you are getting 2-10% you sure do.

     

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  72.  
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    Argonel (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 9:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This plan only affect people with unlimited plans, that are in the top 5% of users, at congested cell towers. So yes they want to deter heavy users that aren't payer per Gb. Also currently to be in the top 5% you have to use more than about 4.7GB in a month. I personally have beer using 12-14 GB per month so I am part of the problem and could potentially face throttling.

     

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  73.  
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    Michael, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 9:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Which is, once again, a totally unacceptable response:

    "We sold more than we have, so f*** you, it's going to be slow now."

    Give me a refund when this happens, improve your network so it doesn't, or sell less of it.

    We are reaching the physical limits of a cell BECAUSE THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH OF THEM. We are not reaching the physical limits because they have run out of space on their towers.

    If you buy a dozen eggs, get 10, and are then told that the other two went to someone else because there just aren't enough eggs, are you going to be ok with it?

     

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  74.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 10:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "People who have purchased full fare tickets and checked in on time prior to the release of unclaimed seats do not have problems with getting bumped from a flight due to overselling."

    This is sortof true, however I do know people who have purchased full-fare tickets, checked in on time, and still have been bumped. It's rare, but it happens.

     

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  75.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Let's throttle that thought a bit!

     

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  76.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re:

    "So everyone gets they 50 meg connection, but those who are constantly hammering on it (say streaming HD video) may see themselves getting throttled, so that people who are surfing eb pages or trying to get their mail don't get lagged."

    Yeah, because, you know, fuck those assholes for "hammering" the service by actually USING what they paid for. They deserve to get less for their money for being selfish for wanting to get what they paid for.

    Because a 50 meg connection that you pay for is SO much more useful when its cut down to 1 meg without any compensating reduction in the cost.

     

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  77.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 10:15am

    "Unlimited*" and "Quasi-not-really-but-totally-throttling".

     

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  78.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Nope. You're making up your own definitions with regards to optimization and throttling. You're further limiting it to specific concepts that can be throttled and optimized and one's, per your definition, that can't be.

    To optimize you absolutely do not need to use the most of your unused bandwidth. That's absurd and idiotic.

    Let's add de-throttling to the mix. Where does that fit? That's a form of optimization and of throttling. So when you de-throttle you're also throttling to optimize - except in the reverse of wherever is forward. Does that mean we aren't optimizing now? Does it mean we are optimizing now? HALP!

    Your definitions are shitty and meaningless. Why? Because they are your definitions.

     

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  79.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There are other things that are interesting about a comparison of airlines and broadband providers...

    1. There are a LOT of airlines to choose from, competition is very fierce, and margins in that industry are pretty thin. In the broadband industry this isn't quite the case.

    2. The fuel and maintenance costs of operating aircraft is very high. Fuel costs tend to fluctuate wildly and maintenance is a constant expense. In the broadband industry while the cost of building the initial infrastructure is really high, most of the maintenance costs (other than the occasional massive upgrade) is not anywhere near the same.

     

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  80.  
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    Michael, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 10:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    To optimize you absolutely do not need to use the most of your unused bandwidth. That's absurd and idiotic.

    So your definition of network optimization does not, in any way, require improvement in the traffic going through that network? I think you have done a great job of re-defining optimization.

    when you de-throttle you're also throttling to optimize

    I'm not sure where to start with that one. I think your argument is that reverse is just forward in the other direction.

    If you are throttling on a network that is not 100% saturated, you can de-throttle (not sure where you made up that term, but I'll use it) without throttling anything else. It's easy - you have 50mb/s available bandwidth, you have 3 users being limited to 2mb/s, you can increase them to 5mb/s with no impact - and guess what, you just OPTIMIZED THE TRAFFIC BECAUSE IT ALL GETS THROUGH FASTER.

     

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  81.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 10:46am

    Re: Re:

    Part of the problem here is two different dynamics are purposely being confused that are not necessarily related. The first is data usage over time and the second is data usage at any given moment. Verizon is implying that people who use a lot of data in a month are responsible for congestion at any given time which isn't necessarily the case. Now if they set a rule that said that x amount of data transferred at y rate could only be sustained for z amount of time in the event of tower congestion in an area such that the transfer rate would be reduced until the amount of data being transferred dropped below a given amount, that would possibly be acceptable and would be fair as it would address those that are contributing the most to the congestion at that moment. However, that is not what they are saying. They are saying that if you use a lot of data in the course of a month, you are subject to being throttled if you happen to connect to a tower with a lot of other people regardless of whether you actually are using a lot of bandwidth at that moment or not.

     

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  82.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's telling when we're wishing that the broadband industry could just be as competitive, honest, and pleasant to do business with as... airlines.

     

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  83.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re:

    And a single HD stream of video doesn't come anywhere near hammering a 50Mb connection. Hell, 5 simultaneous HD streams of video doesn't even hammer a 50Mb connection. The problem isn't the connection between the tower and the device. It's the capacity of the switch at the tower to handle multiple simultaneous connections from lots of people connected through the same tower that causes the problem.

     

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  84.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    A lot of the issues people have with dealing with airlines are the sort of issues that aren't really their fault and are the sort of things that the broadband industry tries to spread FUD about happening in their space. The FAA under the guise of safety issues all kinds of very stupid regulations that the airlines have to follow which make no sense whatsoever, but the airlines have to deal with the public backlash when they follow them. Case in point: how long has it taken the FAA to lift the ban on the use of electronic devices in flight? Yet, when a passenger was told that they had to turn off their phone, the airline gets slammed for not treating the customer right. And is the whole TSA song and dance that passengers are subjected to really the fault of the airlines? The broadband providers see this and want to claim that if the government is allowed to regulate their industry the same sort of thing will happen there but that is a bunch of FUD.

     

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  85.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 11:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Do you know how to tell that those claims are bullshit? When those very same companies that look to throttling as a solution for congestion problems want to spend billions of dollars to buy smaller competitors and related businesses to grow bigger instead of investing that money into upgrading their network in the places prone to that sort of congestion.

     

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  86.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yup.. pretty much this.

    I have no actual issue with the practice described above with my cell carrier. My company does it in exchange for my unlimited data plan, and when my last carrier moved to a 1 gig ceiling... I moved to a different, more local carrier (Thank you Wind) who has the same practice, but a 5 gig ceiling. Talking to the sales rep, I confirmed more than once that this wasn't a 'cut off' or a 'charge point' but simply 'throttling', and he agreed.

    I get that everybody and their grandmother has a smartphone now adays and that data congestion may (I can't say honestly one way or another without more data) be an issue. I get that somebody else having crap data service because I >HAVE speeds.

    The important thing to me, is that the rep explaining it was upfront about it, didn't try to hide or talk around it, and even was willing to bring up and go through the TOS with me. (Beleive me, thats a rarity in sales reps.)

     

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  87.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Or specifically in Verizon's case they half building out higher capacity Fiber networks and either refuse to repair or even start to rip up traditional copper lines in order to force more people, people who the mobility of being wireless adds next to nothing for them, on to their more profitable wireless offerings that are already experiencing these sorts of problems.

     

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  88.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 11:34am

    Re:

    What it does is try to force some users to use it less by decreasing the usefulness of the service such that they can then point to the usage of these people and claim that their bandwidth caps are perfectly in sync with normal usage.

     

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  89.  
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    BernardoVerda (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Which would be absolutely fine. After all, most or all cell providers throttle the top 5% when cells are congested, for precisely those reasons).

    The problem here is that Verizon is discriminating against particular customers, for non-technical reasons -- not equally against anyone in that "top 5%" of heavy users.

    And then they try to deny hat they're actually throttling.

     

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  90.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But sometimes that's due to weather conditions or something outside the control of the airlines for safety reasons.

     

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  91.  
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    Sheogorath (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 12:07pm

    The difference between our Network Optimization practices and throttling is network intelligence.

    So basically, Verizon's Network Optimization practices are throttling with 'network intelligence'. (Scare quotes for the fact that mobile networks are amongst the most unintelligent network providers, and the most unintelligent here in the UK.)

     

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  92.  
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    JP Jones (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re:

    Don't forget Bill Gates's classic memory quote.

    Which he likely didn't actually say...

     

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  93.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 12:54pm

    Maybe they wouldn't have to worry about congestion if they'd spend their money on infrastructure instead of politicians.

     

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  94.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 1:11pm

    We're not lying...

    We're just optimizing the truth!

     

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  95.  
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    Jonas, Jul 28th, 2014 @ 9:09pm

    I'd like to point out that there isn't really anything wrong with this. If you've got to pass more data than you have capacity for, what's wrong with throttling the top users and letting everyone else get their shit done? Impacts the fewest people. Sure, you build more capacity as well (Wishful thinking, I know...), but an optimized method of throttling at peak capacity is cheap and effective NOW. In a more perfect world, it would be the first step in a program to reduce congestion, with "more infrastructure" being a longer term solution. Towers don't build themselves over night.

    As for the optimization isn't throttling argument, I'll even give them that. Direct definitions are awful things to go by when you're putting out statements to the general public. What words potentially imply are more important, because 95% of the people that read what you put out don't actually understand what they're reading very well. They'll key in on a few words. Call it throttling, and most your customers think everyone is being throttled all the time, regardless of what else you say. Call it optimization (and it IS optimizing how it handles data at peak capacities), and people don't all think their virtual world is ending. Lets be honest here, there's nothing wrong with this at all.

    Of all the shit I've seen people give Telcom's shit for, this is by far the dumbest.

    By all means, if you disagree, write up a better optimization they can implement. At least then we have a discussion besides how much you don't like giant Telcom's or how witty you are with using the word optimize. Saying congestion should never happen isn't really a solution, and I'll agree that adding capacity is a solution, but it's only a long term solution. It's the difference between a tourniquet (this optimization) and getting to the doctor (Building more capacity).

     

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  96.  
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    techflaws (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 10:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So there's a limit on unlimited plans? Makes perfect sense!

     

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  97.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 10:49pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "We here at Microsoft believe that OS/2 will be the operating system of the future."

    Comdex.

     

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  98.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 10:56pm

    Re:

    Step 1 - Stop forcing phone makers to customize phones for your network stuffing them with bloatware that takes bandwidth when ever it can.

    Step 2 - if your network is so overburdened why are you trying to force more people onto it?

    Step 3 - Stop promising what you can't deliver. Perhaps try the concept of underpromise & over deliver.

    Step 4 - Perhaps not screw people who you signed an agreement with that no longer looks as lucrative for you.

     

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  99.  
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    Whatever (profile), Jul 28th, 2014 @ 11:51pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Your arguments are valid if you assure that the user is the only user of the mobile network. They are generally not.

    Your arguments also don't take into account that networking like this was generally setup on the basis of a short period of intense communication (to download a webpage and related images) followed by an extended period of doing nothing. Basically, you need 50 meg a second for a few seconds, and you are done... then spend a minute or two reading, scrolling, writing your reply, etc.

    people streaming video don't do that. They use 2- 5 meg a second CONSTANT for an extended period of time.

    Now, let's say a tower can support 1 gig a second. In the first example, given say 5 meg a second for each user for 3 seconds at a time, they tower can handle 200 streams (and that is really low number, it's probably 10 to 100 times higher than that). In a minute, with 5 meg of data per user per second, they can handle 4000+ requests a minute. Reality is something between 40,000 and 400,000 request a minute, because most people aren't downloading 15 meg webpages :)

    Now steaming, well... conservative 2 meg a second, with each user watching the video for that full minute (and usually much longer) the tower handles 500 users. Yup, it's hammering when you use up 8 to 800 times more resources.

    You have to remember, networking isn't single instant, it's also a question of duration.

    Because a 50 meg connection that you pay for is SO much more useful when its cut down to 1 meg without any compensating reduction in the cost.

    You make the standard error of assuming that a 50 meg connection means you can have and obtain 50 meg a second 100% of the time all of the time without consideration for anyone else. Connection speed and total data volume are not 100% connected together.

    Do yourself a favor. Go to a site like pingdom or similar and use that to test the load time and page size of techdirt. I tested it, 850k took almost 5 seconds. So when you pull Techdirt to your mobile phone, it doesn't matter one bit what your connection speed is much past about 1 meg a second, because the website isn't getting delivered that fast anyway. See, even Techdirt has to deal with the fact that their servers and connections are finite resources, and their webserver software automatically prioritizes and limits requests on the fly, effectively throttling your access. Perhaps you should get made at Techdirt for not having infinite amounts of server resources.

     

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  100.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 29th, 2014 @ 12:07am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Because it's completely unacceptable to use a term that makes it sound like they're strangling their customers."

    Throttling has other meanings. Perhaps there's something Freudian happening if they can't consider the other definitions!

    "I wish they had just not addressed the term "throttling" at all rather than lying about it."

    Yep. there's other things to discuss had they merely presented it as "network optimisation" or "congestion mitigation" or something else, but at least they'd be relatively honest. Openly trying to redefine common language is not the best tactic.

     

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  101.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 29th, 2014 @ 12:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "they are not planning to throttle all traffic, just those users who pay for unlimited data"

    "Verizon is reducing network speed to people with unlimited plans once they've met a certain threshold, or limit, of data usage"

    Erm, so what I said then? If there's a limit, it's not unlimited. People who pay per month for "unlimited" data are being throttled, while those who pay more per meg are not. How is that different to what I wrote?

     

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  102.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 29th, 2014 @ 12:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Perhaps you should get made at Techdirt for not having infinite amounts of server resources."

    Not only do you ignore the actual points in the article, not only do you have to act the smug fool spouting off as if you know everything (you don't, by the way). But, you can't resist turning a rambling comment on bandwidth allocation into an offhand attack on the site you choose to read on a daily basis, even as you fail to white knight Verizon against the one actual accusation made against them in the article. Pathetic.

     

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  103.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 29th, 2014 @ 12:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, but you have still failed to address the actual problem noted in the article - that they're trying to pretend this isn't throttling. Do you have an answer to that?

     

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  104.  
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    Groaker (profile), Jul 29th, 2014 @ 4:38am

    Throttle may have multiple unpleasant Freudian implications, but like many words used as jargon in particular fields, those connotations do not carry over from one area to another.

    Having been trained in the physical sciences, I cringe when I hear an attorney use the term "theory." Social workers tend to stress the need for "positive feedback," while to an engineer the term "positive feedback" can evoke fear and horror.

    Programmers and analysts need to be careful of their language around different clientele. At least in the past, the happy term default was anathema to bankers. Abort was very negative to people of certain religious beliefs.

    "Throttle" is just a word, the meaning of which depends on field and connotation.

     

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  105.  
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    Michael, Jul 29th, 2014 @ 5:03am

    Re:

    write up a better optimization they can implement

    What they are planning is not optimization, they intend to reduce bandwidth for some of the connections for a group of people that they can complain about without alienating most of their customers.

    Without seeing their network, suggesting optimizations that they can implement is nearly impossible, but there is certainly the option of increasing the number of cells and switches for the data to travel through. Clearly, they are running into bottlenecks - rather than trying to reduce the amount of traffic running through these bottlenecks, it seems to me that since they have already sold more bandwidth than they can currently provide, they need to start adding more.

     

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  106.  
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    ThatFatMan (profile), Jul 29th, 2014 @ 5:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This sounds like what Sprint does honestly. What I mean is that Sprint offers "unlimited" data, but they throttle it after 2.56GB to a slower speed. They call it unlimited because there is no cap to how much data you can use, just a cap to how fast you can use it. So everyone can still get away with calling it unlimited despite the limits and it's business as usual.

     

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  107.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 29th, 2014 @ 5:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In fairness, that could very well have been true if IBM & Microsoft hadn't had their falling out.

     

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  108.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 29th, 2014 @ 6:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:


    Throttling has other meanings. Perhaps there's something Freudian happening if they can't consider the other definitions!


    This is PR though. They have to think about the ways their customers might perceive the word, not just what the dictionary says. Though as I said it's something they didn't even need to bring up.

     

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  109. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    cisco material, Jul 29th, 2014 @ 6:47am

    Computer networking

    Well, thanks for this article, it helped me for some information, thanks again

     

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  110.  
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    Candid Cameron, Jul 29th, 2014 @ 7:55am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Throttling is by definition the intentional slowing down of a customers connection so that they are no longer getting the speed they paid for. That's the entire definition right there, full stop. Whether throttling is done full time or part time (i.e. "dynamic") is completely irrelevant to the actual definition. Always has been, always will be.

     

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  111.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 29th, 2014 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Indeed. I trust any random airline a whole lot more than a telco.

     

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  112.  
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    Groaker (profile), Jul 29th, 2014 @ 8:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    To throttle can also mean to speed up. As in "give it the throttle."

    Also note that computers and networks are complex things. Another meaning of the term would be to buffer. My disk drive consumes fewer resources because it "throttles" or buffers information until it either has enough information to make a write worthwhile, or a specified time interval has passed. This is why you need to do a "u[n]mount" or "eject" on a removeable drive. Information needs to be flushed to the disk before it is removed.

    But quarrelling over throttle or optimize is meaningless. The difficulty here is not what anyone calls the process, it is that the ISP does not provide the deliverable. They get around it by saying up to, but while legal, it is ethically fraud. Time to make it illegal. Sell rates by averages, have those averages tested.

     

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  113.  
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    Michael, Jul 29th, 2014 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The Verizon plan is a little different. They have been doing what Sprint does (and you correctly described).

    Version's new plan is actually a bit better in that they are going to throttle the top users once they have exceeded their cap, but only if the connection they are using does not have enough bandwidth for all of the other users. Basically, they are going to lower the packet priority of these users so as long as they don't interfere with anyone else they continue with the full bandwidth, but once they interfere, their connection will have a lower priority when it comes to allocating bandwidth.

    Both plans, however, are ridiculous on their face because Verizon (and Sprint) should be providing the bandwidth they have sold their customers. Playing these kinds of games will, at best, hide the fact that their networks are too oversold and they need to actually optimize them or upgrade them to support their customers.

     

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  114.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 29th, 2014 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    To throttle can also mean to speed up. As in "give it the throttle."

    It means the same thing in that context: "A throttle is the mechanism by which the flow of a fluid is managed by constriction or obstruction. An engine's power can be increased or decreased by the restriction of inlet gases (i.e., by the use of a throttle), but usually decreased. The term throttle has come to refer, informally and incorrectly, to any mechanism by which the power or speed of an engine is regulated. What is often termed a throttle (in an aviation context) is more correctly called a thrust lever."

    Another meaning of the term would be to buffer.

    Throttling and buffering are not the same thing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Throttling_process_%28computing%29

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Da ta_buffer

     

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  115.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 29th, 2014 @ 9:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, but that's not what I was talking about. I wish I had taken a picture of the sign so I could relate the exact working, but to paraphrase, it said that it is the airline's policy to overbook their flights in an attempt to keep the planes full, because some people book flights and don't show up. However, this means that sometimes there won't be enough seats for the number of tickets they sold. In those cases, they'll offer inducements to passengers to voluntarily give up their seats. If they can't find enough volunteers, they'll start bumping people.

     

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  116.  
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    Groaker (profile), Jul 29th, 2014 @ 9:30am

    Depends on the context. For example consider I2C buffering circuit which can be used to both speedup at one side and slowdown at the other at the same time.

     

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  117.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2014 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Network optimization doesn't have to improve traffic going through a network. You are probably saying that "improving traffic through a network" means making a network able to carry more traffic.

    Network optimization can involve optimizing jitter, latency delay. Optimizing for those factors can decrease traffic going through a network, therefore not improve traffic going through a network.

    You are looking at a network as a singular water pipe which you can either optimize or throttle. That is a laymen interpretation.

    A network is a huge pipe with many different pipes within that pipe that are created and destroyed dynamically - therefore optimized - to, hopefully, benefit all users.

    So wait, you're agreeing with me then? You must be.

    FYI: Reverse is forward in the opposite direction.

     

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  118.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 29th, 2014 @ 11:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "But quarrelling over throttle or optimize is meaningless."

    Well, yes and no. Arguing over which definition is most appropriate is splitting hairs, but the blatant attempt by Verizon to try and pretend that their actions do not constitute throttling at all deserves some comment.

    "They get around it by saying up to, but while legal, it is ethically fraud. Time to make it illegal."

    Not only does that open a massive can of worms, but it does so in many industries well outside of Verizon's sphere. I understand the sentiment, but there's ways to address this without making necessary technical work impossible and thus negative affecting customers. e.g., what if you have a tower that's normally running at 20% capacity but suddenly jumps up to 100% while there's a random music festival in the area for one week. Does the network engineer risk breaking the law because he tries to mitigate the problem? There are other reasons for throttling than "screw the customer, we don't want to upgrade".

    Deliberate and repeated attempts to treat customers according to the ransom they pay should be addressed, especially if the company is in a monopoly position. But, we have to be measured in the methods used.

     

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  119.  
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    BernardoVerda (profile), Jul 29th, 2014 @ 7:23pm

    Re:

    But -- and this is important -- the question of how much data a user consumes in a billing period has remarkably little to do with how much they contribute to any period of congestion.

    This is not merely a theoretical, mathematically derivable consideration, but one that has been proven (through analysis of actual ISP logs) to bear out in actual practice.

     

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  120.  
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    Sheogorath (profile), Jul 29th, 2014 @ 8:34pm

    Re: Re:

    Step 2 - if your network is so overburdened why are you trying to force more people onto it?

    And taking away cells and base stations you still need because your consumer base hasn't shrunk. Amirite, EE?

     

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  121.  
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    Sheogorath (profile), Jul 30th, 2014 @ 6:04am

    Re: Computer networking

    The above is a spam comment. Please click the report button on it.

     

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

  122.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2014 @ 11:13pm

    funny

    You guys funny, you all probably don't even have unlimited data lol

     

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  123.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 12:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I just love having that video.

    That and the launch of windows where they plugged in the scanner and it bluescreened on stage, and he makes some joke about testing... cause windows is buggy, its funnys

     

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


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