FCC doesn't buy Verizon's throttling rationale, wants all carriers to explain themselves

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On Friday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler dismissed Verizon’s reasoning for throttling certain mobile broadband users, and announced that the Commission was questioning other mobile carriers’ throttling policies as well, Reuters reports.

Verizon’s policy, which it announced in late July and plans to put into effect in October, would throttle the top 5 percent of LTE users with unlimited data plans when its network is under heavy loads. The carrier noted that data speeds would return to normal when network traffic eases.

The FCC took issue with Verizon’s plan, and Verizon shot back, stating that, “In short this practice has been widely accepted with little or no controversy.”

Wheeler is having none of it, though. According to Reuters, Wheeler told reporters that “‘All the kids do it’” is not a reasonable defense of the practice, and that the Commission took issue with other carriers’ throttling policies, too.

“My concern in this instance—and it’s not just with Verizon, by the way, we’ve written to all the carriers—is that it is moving from a technology and engineering issue to the business issues ... such as choosing between different subscribers based on your economic relationship with them,” Wheeler said.

The FCC did not publicly release the letters to the other carriers, and it isn’t clear if there’s a timetable for the carriers to respond, but it’s clear that this saga is far from over.

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