FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has reacted to Verizon’s future plan to throttle customers on unlimited LTE data plans under certain conditions. In a letter officially released by the FCC and published by Reuters, the chairman of the federal regulator expressed concern that the carrier is applying arbitrary limitations to customers rather than basing the limits on the limitations of its infrastructure.
“I am deeply troubled by your July 25, 2014 announcement that Verizon Wireless intends to slow down some customers’ data speeds on your 4G LTE network starting in October 2014. It is disturbing to me that Verizon Wireless would base its ‘network management’ on distinctions among its customers’ data plans, rather than on network architecture or technology. … I know of no past Commission statement that would treat as ‘reasonable network management’ a decision to slow traffic to a user who has paid, after all, for ‘unlimited’ service.”
Verizon has responded to Wheeler’s letter with a promise to release a formal response, as the carrier has not yet formulated a detailed rebuttal. While the recently announced changes to Verizon’s “Network Optimization” were initially meant to address unlimited data users on LTE in order to maintain integrity for all users, the changes have also exposed the continuing battle between federal regulators and service providers when defining the principle of Net Neutrality in terms of access and fairness for all.