FCC Sends Strong Message – No Slow Lanes Yet
In the middle of the discussion on net neutrality, Verizon announced plans to extend a policy that they already have in place for 3G users that slows traffic for the highest data users during peak times. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has warned Verizon that their pending changes may violate federal regulations.
Verizon recently announced that customers with the unlimited 4G LTE data plans would become subject to restrictions on that service in October. As discussed in “Verizon’s slowing down data for some of its heaviest users. And the FCC is calling them out on it.,” posted by Brian Fung on WashingtonPost.com, the top data users, which Verizon estimated as the top 5%, would see slower service during periods of peak traffic, then regular service would resume once the high traffic passed or users moved near another cell tower. This same procedure is currently in place for 3G users and Verizon also indicated that the targeted, limited change would affect relatively few customers.
The FCC sent a letter to Verizon indicating that this plan was discriminatory and inappropriately putting pressure on their unlimited-data customers to switch to a more profitable metered plan. Verizon seemed to be trying to get out of their promise to provide unlimited data by providing poor service under the guise of “network management.” Essentially, Verizon would be slowing users who have paid for unlimited service based on ”network management” versus network architecture or technology itself. The FCC letter is included in Fung’s article.
The FCC is in the midst of drafting net neutrality rules and consumer groups are calling on the FCC to classify the Internet as a utility under Title II of the Communications Act. As a utility, ISPs would be regulated by the FCC ad subject to net neutrality rules. However, even this idea is controversial. Title II only prohibits “unjust or unreasonable discrimination” and the proposed internet fast lanes or similar traffic discrimination may actually be considered legal.
While everyone waits for decisions to be made, debated, and put into law or struck down, the internet will continue to be a busy place, especially during peak times. In the meantime, make sure your business solutions are working a peak capacity. Contact AKA Enterprise Solutions for guidance and support for your business technology.