Verizon to throttle data speeds, "optimize" media | webOS Nation

Verizon to throttle data speeds, "optimize" media

by Derek Kessler Fri, 04 Feb 2011 2:34 pm EST

With the iPhone 4 set to land on Verizon Wireless later this week, Big Red looks to be taking some steps to control the flow of data over their network. Effective on February 3rd, Verizon intends to begin throttling data speeds and optimizing media content. This was all tucked away in a PDF updating Verizon’s terms and conditions.

First up is the data throttling, which could apply to the top 5% of Verizon data consumers:

"Verizon Wireless strives to provide customers the best experience when using our network, a shared resource among tens of millions of customers. To help achieve this, if you use an extraordinary amount of data and fall within the top 5 percent of Verizon Wireless data users we may reduce your data throughput speeds periodically for the remainder of your then current and immediately following billing cycle to ensure high quality network performance for other users at locations and times of peak demand. Our proactive management of the Verizon Wireless network is designed to ensure that the remaining 95 percent of data customers aren't negatively affected by the inordinate data consumption of just a few users."

We can see the top one or two percent, but one out of every twenty data subscribers? To us this flies in the face of consumer friendliness, but Verizon hasn’t exactly been a standard bearer of good practices recently. What really stings is that Verizon will not only throttle your data an unspecified amount for the remained of the current billing cycle, but also the next. Here’s hoping you aren’t depending on downloads over Verizon to do your job.

Next up is Verizon’s new media optimization policy:

"We are implementing optimization and transcoding technologies in our network to transmit data files in a more efficient manner to allow available network capacity to benefit the greatest number of users. These techniques include caching less data, using less capacity, and sizing the video more appropriately for the device. The optimization process is agnostic to the content itself and to the website that provides it. While we invest much effort to avoid changing text, image, and video files in the compression process and while any change to the file is likely to be indiscernible, the optimization process may minimally impact the appearance of the file as displayed on your device."

Yep, Verizon’s going to compress and reformat your media files server-side before you download them. Here’s hoping don’t like looking at hi-res images on your phone or streaming high-quality video to your TV.

As you can imagine, we’re not fans of these new policies, just as we’re not fans of Verizon’s stance on net neutrality. We know Verizon and the carriers don’t want to be just “dumb pipes,” and we can appreciate that they want to manage the impact of the proliferation of devices that make it easier and easier to download content, but we, like you, don’t want our content modified along the way.

Source: Verizon Wireless (1 [pdf], 2), Via: TiPb, BGR