Verizon seems to be in a throttling mood when it comes to your Internet. There's the infamous Watching Netflix on FiOS through VPN video floating around, which affects the majority of FiOS users in the country. Now, Verizon Wireless will be throttling 4G LTE data on your smartphones. The good news is that for this instance, it's only for the heavy users on an old plan.
About one-fifth of all Verizon Wireless customers are still on a grandfathered plan that contains unlimited data. And until now, those customers have been lucky little ducks, able to stream and download to their heart's content without a care in the world. In sticking with the theme for the company's 3G data in 2011, beginning October 1st, VZW will now be throttling back the speed on the network's heavy users of 4G LTE data.
For now, only the top five percent of users will experience this slowdown, and to be affected by it, you'll have to use about 4.7GB of data a month. Plus, you'll only be throttled if you're on a tower that is undergoing heavy demand. While that doesn't seem like too bad of a deal, you really don't get a choice of which tower you connect to. So if you're in, say, New York City, you might have a better chance of being slowed down than if you were in a city like Topeka.
It should be noted that you must hit all three of those criteria before Verizon puts pressure on you. And it's also important to point out that this is only for those on the unlimited plans from back in the day. Those who are on a MORE Everything or other usage-based plan are not subject to what Verizon is calling (in a very Aperture Science way) Network Optimization.
Lastly, if you do experience Network Optimization, you will undergo that duress for the remainder of the current month, plus the following month, which is kind of a downer. Verizon also won't be nice enough to inform you on which towers or areas will have high demand.
There are many variables that can contribute to a cell site experiencing high demand including, but not limited to, the number of active users and the type of applications being used on that site. While we work to ensure we have the most reliable network for every location, these variables combined with other environmental factors determine whether or not a particular cell site experiences high demand at any particular time.
Does this affect you? Will it convince you to change your plan or will you just deal with it? As a reminder, always keep tabs on your data usage with Verizon's built-in monitoring tools.