FCC Questioning All Carriers on Throttling Policies

The back-and-forth between the FCC and Verizon over Verizon's announced plan to throttle speeds of customer with "unlimited" plans has spilled over to other carriers now as well.

Unlimited cellular data is the holy grail of many mobile users, and Verizon's grandfathered-in unlimited plans have become more valuable to those who still have them than any family heirloom.

The core of Verizon's reply to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's demand letter was that throttling policies to slow down unlimited users were "widely accepted" and not all that different than what other carriers do.

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Wheeler's response:

"'All the kids do it' was never something that worked for me when I was growing up.

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 (network management) 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."

It is looking as if the FCC intends to turn this into a major issue, and this is shaping up to become a substantial fight over basic network management policy.

Can carriers give some users on some plans preference, or will they have to treat all users and all data equally?

Stay tuned - the soap opera continues...

More on Chairman Wheeler's latest comments can be read here.

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