Writing to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler last Friday, Verizon Wireless senior vice president Kathleen Grillo defended her company’s recent decision to extend its practice of “throttling” data transmission speeds for certain 3G network and is now extending it to users to certain 4G LTE subscribers on unlimited data plans, emphasizing: “the purpose is to ensure there is capacity for everyone . . . and that high users don’t limit capacity for others.”
Verizon’s letter responds to a July 30 communication from Wheeler to Verizon CEO Daniel Mead in which Wheeler acknowledged he was “deeply troubled” by Verizon’s plan to begin slowing network transmission speeds for some of the heaviest users of Verizon’s unlimited 4G LTE data plan starting on October 1. Advising Mead that he was “disturbed” by Verizon’s move to “base its network management on distinctions among its customers’ data plans, rather than on network architecture or technology,” Wheeler countered that “reasonable network management concerns the technical management of your network; it is not a loophole designed to enhance your revenue streams.”
In reply, Grillo maintained that Verizon’s “network optimization” program complies with principles of reasonable management outlined by the FCC in the 2010 Open Internet order and targets only those subscribers who use “a disproportionate amount of network resources and have an out-sized effect on the network.” Denying that the program represents “an effort to ‘enhance [our] revenue streams,” Grillo termed her company’s throttling practice as “a measured and fair step to ensure that this small group of customers does not disadvantage all others in the sharing of network resources.” Grillo also noted that the policy only targets cell sites “experiencing high demand” and that full network speeds are restored once congestion on impacted cell sites subsides.