Following the recent revelation that Verizon Wireless would begin throttling some 4G LTE customers on unlimited data plans, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has sent a letter to the carrier (full text below) expressing his disdain with the policy and question the necessity of throttling only customers on unlimited plans.
In the letter, Wheeler asks Verizon CEO Daniel Mead why exactly the company feels the need to only throttle customers on certain plans, rather than throttling based on the needs of the technology that powers the network. Wheeler says he is “deeply troubled” by Verizon’s claims that the policy is necessary to “optimize” the network, when in his opinion, it appears to more likely be a ploy to get customers off of unlimited plans.
Wheeler ends the letter with a series of questions that he requests Mead answer before moving forward with this new policy decision. These questions seek reasoning about how throttling only unlimited customers actually serves to improve network quality, why the limitations previously placed on the company’s 3G service are now needed on the 4G network, and how Verizon justifies the new policy in relation to its obligations under FCC rules which state that “Verizon Wireless may not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of end users to download and utilize applications of thefrchoosing on the C Block networks.”
It will certainly be interesting to see how this situation plays out between the FCC and Verizon in the months leading up to October, when the new throttling policy is set to go into effect. The full letter from Wheeler is embedded below: