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Verizon CEO Says "We Will Hunt Heavy Users Down" 738

Posted by timothy
from the from-his-secret-soundproofed-bunker dept.
Zerocool3001 writes "In an interview with WSJ editor Alan Murray,Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg talks about how the FCC's broadband access studies are wrong (and the US is definitely 'number one, not even close'), how he had someone else stand in line for him Saturday to pick up his iPad, and how Verizon will soon hunt down, throttle and/or charge high-bandwidth users on its network."
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Verizon CEO Says "We Will Hunt Heavy Users Down"

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  • Re:Come to Verizon! (Score:5, Informative)

    by theaveng (1243528) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @01:59PM (#31779328)

    I use Verizon DSL.

    The rate is reasonable ($15), and I've never been throttled, or received notice that I used too many gigabytes. (In theory I could download 233 gigabytes each month, if I bittorrented 24/7, which I usually do.)

  • Re:Come to Verizon! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:02PM (#31779400)

    Summary and title are misleading; article refers to the smartphone data service explicitly, not DSL/FiOS internet users.

  • "Heavy Users"? (Score:2, Informative)

    by digitaldrunkenmonk (1778496) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:03PM (#31779414)

    What the fuck does "heavy user" mean? Turns out the article mentions it.

    He specified and said that the company would throttle the ones using smartphones past their bandwidth limit. Yeah, that's why I don't use a smartphone for that shit. It's spelled out in the contract for a reason. Turns out he's not making some ridiculous claim or stating that the company'll start throttling home based networks.

    Crazy that.

  • by vivaoporto (1064484) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:07PM (#31779458)

    how he had someone else stand in line for him Saturday to pick up his iPad

    First Murdock displays his love [slashdot.org] for it, now the CEO of Verizon not only says he wanted one, but send one of his minions to pick it up for him. If someone were trying to paint the iPad in a bad light, couldn't get it better than this.

    Now what, someone using the iPad to kick puppies and stomp kittens?

  • by thewils (463314) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:11PM (#31779546) Journal

    "We're so far ahead of everyone else, it's "not even close."

    Oh wait... [worldpoliticsreview.com]

  • Re:Yaay (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:15PM (#31779616)

    If he hasn't gotten it yet, he likely won't. Verizon has canceled many of their previously planned FiOS deployments. The only ones they are still going to do are the ones they are contractually obligated to do (by franchise agreements with local governments).

    By finished, I didn't mean "they've deployed FiOS to the entire country." I meant "They're not going to deploy any more FiOS."

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:19PM (#31779686) Homepage Journal

    Bandwidth and usage are two different things.

    So you have the ability to use up your allotment faster, big deal, if they have it in their contract that they may restrict your access if you exceed a published cap then I cannot see how anyone has a problem.

    Before chiming back, "its not there", post it as well.

    No, I am not with Verizon, then again I don't believe in paying any phone company that wants me on a contract.

  • by bennomatic (691188) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:24PM (#31779798) Homepage
    Let me amend that: for wired services, a few cents per GB, for wireless, a few bucks per.

    What's ridiculous is the disparity between flat rates (that aren't really flat if you use too much) and the metered rates. My company pays for my BB contract, so I'm not sure how much that is, but I remember when I got my first data plan with Sprint for my Treo back in the day, and the choices were:
    • $15.00/mo flat-rate.
    • $0.01 per kilobyte.

    Yes, that's kiloBYTE, meaning roughly $10.00 per MB, or $10,000 per GB. And of course, they rounded up to the next KB with each transaction, so if I downloaded a 1.2 KB email, that was $0.02, rather than looking at my transactions as a whole over the month and rounding, say, 1005.2 KB up to 1006.

    I'm sure rates have gone down since then, but there's no way that delivering data cost them $0.01 per KB if they were offering flat rates of $15/mo.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:26PM (#31779832)

    RTFA:
    Finally, if you're a high-bandwidth user of Verizon's smartphone data services, the company will soon hunt you down and throttle you. (The company has long had a maximum transfer limit on monthly data plans.)

    Seidenberg: But when we now go after the very, very high users, the ones who camp on the network all day long every day doing things that—who knows what they're doing—those are the—

    Murray: It's video, right? I mean, it's video.

    Seidenberg: But those are the people we will throttle and we will find them and we will charge them something else.

    It has nothing to do with FIOS, you dumb fuck.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:34PM (#31779974)

    Already there are 20+ people decrying that line. The summary is super-misleading. Seems to me that if you have enough time to write one of those screeds about it, you ought to spend 60 seconds to at least scan the article first. Here's what it really said:

    Finally, if you're a high-bandwidth user of Verizon's smartphone data services, the company will soon hunt you down and throttle you. (The company has long had a maximum transfer limit on monthly data plans.)

    OK? They never sold their wireless plans as unlimited, unlike their fiber internet product. Verizon is pretty douchey, but at least not that way.

  • Re:Dishonest (Score:3, Informative)

    by Muad'Dave (255648) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:36PM (#31780000) Homepage

    Not that I condone their tactics, but I think you're confusing bandwidth with usage. Assume I have a 20Mbit down connection and a 250GByte/mo cap. That's 100000 seconds or about 27.7 hours of full speed download.

    I would _much_ rather have access to the full 20Mbit/sec with the cap than have them limit my download speed to 771kbit/s* so that it would be impossible for me to 'go over' my cap in any given month.

    Your electrical service is the same way - they sell you (in the US) 120/240V service with a maximum draw of some number of amps (200 typically) - they don't guarantee that you can draw 200A all the time, just as a max. They 'oversubscribe' transformers just like internet access, taking use patterns into account.

    * 250GB * 8 bits/byte / 2592000 sec/30 days = 771605 bits/sec

  • Re:Come to Verizon! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zedrick (764028) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:38PM (#31780050)
    > And you use it for what, exactly?

    Downloading stuff?

    I moved two months ago, from an apartment with 100/100Mb to this one, where I can only get 30/30Mb. Now it takes minutes to download the latest 24/Caprica/In Plain Sight/Criminal Minds etc. Sure, not really a problem and I'm much better off than people in the 3rd world etc etc, but the point is that you always "need" the best available once you've gotten used to it.
  • Re:Come to Verizon! (Score:5, Informative)

    by barrkel (806779) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:38PM (#31780056) Homepage

    He is saying that we have more capacity and usage then even Japan, which wouldn't surprise me as we have about 100X the number of people.

    Japan has about 127 million people. Has the US increased to 12.7 billion some time recently?

  • Re:Come to Verizon! (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheKidWho (705796) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:45PM (#31780140)

    He's talking about Verizon Wireless customers, not landline.

    But yeah, it's easy to misquote an article to get a horde of /. nerds over zealous.

  • Re:Come to Verizon! (Score:5, Informative)

    by theaveng (1243528) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:49PM (#31780196)

    .....which is why I never felt the need to go for faster speeds. Why pay Comcast ~$60 a month for 25 Mbit/s service if the actual throughput (250 GB) is no different than the $15 1.0 Mbps option.

  • Re:Come to Verizon! (Score:5, Informative)

    by ircmaxell (1117387) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:51PM (#31780224) Homepage

    I don't think anyone expects that they can transfer 5 TBs a month over a shared line. If you expect to transfer that much data I don't see why you expect to pay the same as the average user who is likely closer to 1 GB.

    I expect to be able to transfer that much, because I purchased a 15mbps connection, not a 200gb/month connection. If they advertised them by total transfer, or priced it based on total transfer, I'd be content with paying the difference. But my whole point is that they don't. They advertise 15mbps. Period. End of story. http://www22.verizon.com/Residential/FiOSInternet/Plans/Plans.htm [verizon.com] Actually, now that I look at it, even in the fine print do they not disclose any kind of cap on transfer. They just say that they don't guarantee the rate. Nothing about "You are allowed to transfer x GB / month" or "Subject to usage caps" or even "Heavy users will be castrated and fed to the pigs"... Only:

    Connection speeds are between your location and Verizon central office serving your location. Actual download and upload speeds will vary based on numerous factors, such as condition of wiring at your location, computer configuration, Internet and network congestion, and speed of website servers you access, among other factors. Available in select areas. Speed and uninterrupted use of service not guaranteed.

    It's repeated a few times on that page, but there's nothing that I can see that even remotely implies that you can't expect to use whatever bandwidth you can get to the fullest it provides you. Now sure, they could implement selective filtering based on that (the higher transfer people get rate limited)...

  • Re:Come to Verizon! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @03:01PM (#31780354) Homepage

    Japan has about 127 million people. Has the US increased to 12.7 billion some time recently?

    That's just Verizon Math [blogspot.com] at work. As long as you're within a factor of 100 then that's close enough for Verizon.

  • Re:Come to Verizon! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @03:25PM (#31780670) Journal

    Actually, now that I look at it, even in the fine print do they not disclose any kind of cap on transfer.

    RTFA. He is talking about their wireless data plans, not their wireline data plans.

  • Re:Come to Verizon! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Michael Kristopeit (1751814) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @03:29PM (#31780736)

    Granted, queue can make sense in a CS-type queuing up the theme...

    also in the UK theme... any line of people is a "queue", and entering that line is "queuing up".

    didn't they invent the english language?

  • Re:Dishonest (Score:4, Informative)

    by Frett2 (630407) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @03:43PM (#31780924)
    In his defense that quote was taken out of context. In the actual interview being quoted he is referring to his company purchasing a few iPads to explore the technology.

    From the interview transcript [cfr.org]:

    SEIDENBERG: -- they want, when they do it. (Laughter.)
    But, on balance, they're good for the industry. They create -- if you don't mind, I'll just -- let me extend to the iPad --

    MURRAY: Yeah, sure --

    SEIDENBERG: -- just to give you a -- (inaudible) -- everybody's familiar with this. So, like everybody else, you know, we're interested in it. So we had our -- some of our technology people go out and buy a couple of devices --

    MURRAY: You didn't stand in line on Saturday?

    SEIDENBERG: No, I had somebody else stand in line. (Laughter.) But we had people standing in line.

  • by businessnerd (1009815) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @03:50PM (#31781000)
    The summary and the page the summary links to are VERY misleading and most of the rants posted above are all based on incorrect assumptions. If you want the real picture, read the actual interview [cfr.org]. I'll try to clarify some of these issues as objectively as possible. Not arguing one way or another here, but some of the ranters need to chill out.

    1. Verizon is "hunting down" heavy users of it's 3G broadband (i.e. Verizon Wireless) NOT it's FIOS or DSL. It is also important to note that Verizon Wireless does NOT offer unlimited data usage in its data plans (I'm a subscriber). The unlimited Verizon plans refer specifically to voice and text. So anyone screaming bloody murder about punishing users for using what they paid for can STFU. You aren't paying for unlimited, so you won't get unlimited.

    2. The iPad. The summary and the linked article really spin this one into something it's not. According to the actual interview, Verizon (as a company) had several people stand in line for iPads because Verizon is interested in the device (as they should be) and want some to play/experiment/develop/whatever with. The CEO did not dispatch a personal assistant to stand in line so he could have his own iPad without the need to stand in line with those filthy "commoners". The summary and linked article puts its own spin in order to imply the latter, but nothing in the actual interview suggests this at all.

    3. US #1 in broadband? This guy defines being #1 in broadband a little differently than the FCC and most people. While the FCC is looking at broadband speed, he looks more at broadband penetration and utilization. Now I don't know the exact numbers, and no sources were really cited in the actual interview, so this is still pretty debatable. However, I think he brings up a good point in how we rank broadband. If a country has the highest speeds available in the world, but only a select few can actually get access to it, then are they really #1 in broadband? I would argue that being the best would be a combination of speed, availability, reliability, and even cost. Again, though, some fact-checking needs to be done on this one.

    In summary, Slashdot has once again gone for sensationalism, and the linked article is probably worse. I wouldn't mind it so much if it didn't spark all of these threads making arguments about things that were never said or even implied by the person in question. This is supposed to be a site for intellectuals, yet we can't seem to have an intellectual debate over the issues, because the real issues have been so clouded. I urge everyone to read the actual interview, even though it is quite lengthy. There is a lot of good stuff in there and it gives some good insights into how one of the largest companies in the country feels about issues from net neutrality to health-care. The real answers are not quite as evil as you might think.
  • Re:Come to Verizon! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @03:58PM (#31781092)

    also in the UK theme... any line of people is a "queue", and entering that line is "queuing up".

    No literate British person would use "queue" in the sentence being complained about (admittedly there are lots of illiterate British people who might). We're not talking about people, lined-up or otherwise.

  • by GPLDAN (732269) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @04:17PM (#31781288)
    So, if Christine Varney - who is making some noise that she MIGHT just stick her boot up Verizon's behind - actually starts filing stuff and pushing Congress to back her - you would support that? You would support an Obama administration pushing for that?

    Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124689740762401297.html [wsj.com]
  • Re:Come to Verizon! (Score:3, Informative)

    by hullabalucination (886901) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @04:17PM (#31781294) Journal

    I've not seen any ads that advertise unlimited gigabytes.

    Verizon has/had a plan simply called "Unlimited Access" that they sold in New York State. They didn't specifically use any terms denoting quantity ("gigabytes") or any other usage restrictions in their plan name or advertising; they left it wide open to the customer's imagination, in their advertising/marketing (although not in the actual contract), as to what "Unlimited" implied. And, they got spanked for it by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo back in 2007 for "deceptive marketing." Verizon agreed to stop the "deceptive marketing" and reimburse Verizon customers in New York State $1 million.

    http://riskman.typepad.com/peerflow/2007/10/cuomo-to-verizo.html [typepad.com]

    Cuomo's action was most likely brought on by vocal consumer backlash in various forums:

    http://consumerist.com/2007/04/verizon-unlimited-access-plan-is-extremely-limited.html [consumerist.com]

    Apparently, at least in New York State, the contract doesn't mean much if you are judged to have engaged in deceptive advertising while trying to sell that contract.

    * * * * *

    All my life, I always wanted to be somebody. Now I see that I should have been more specific.
    —Jane Wagner

  • Re:Come to Verizon! (Score:3, Informative)

    by e2d2 (115622) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @04:25PM (#31781404)

    A "cue" is a signal. A queue is a group of things, specifically one where FIFO is the standard. So you are technically in a queue when you stand in line yes. But it's not a signal.

    *Although technically one could queue a jaws theme in a list of themes.

  • Re:Come to Verizon! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Protoslo (752870) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @04:30PM (#31781474)
    If you read the whole transcript, you'll see that he was talking about tiered pricing for their phone business only.

    This is -- thank you for the question. Thank you for your comment. This goes to my investors so they don't think we're crazy.

    So when you look at this question -- so let's look at the dichotomy between a carrier and the Silicon Valley types.

    So most people think a carrier wants to charge for every minute on a linear basis in perpetuity, infinity. That's what you guys think, right? You're right, when we do that.

    We don't really want to do that. What we want to do is give you a chance to buy a bundle, a session of 10 megabits or a session of 30.

    The problem we have is 5 (percent) or 10 percent of the people are the abusers that are chewing up all the bandwidth. That's what happened with music and all that kind of thing.

    So what we will do is put in reasonable data plans, and we've done this. We've just introduced a $30 data plan that does with every one of our BlackBerrys or smart phones, a 10 (dollar) or a $30 data plan that covers the majority of people who feel that's a fair price. I get to use it for 30, 40 hours and I pay a certain rate.

    But when we now go after the very, very high users, the ones who camp on the network all day long every day doing things that -- who knows what they're doing -- those are the --

    So, in effect it seems like he was actually saying that they prefer to avoid maximally efficient pricing (i.e. per minute/megabit charges) and instead sell you more than you will actually use (bundles), but the peak capacity is so much higher than the median that they feel they will need at least two tiers to pull that off (or else the price will obviously seem like a bad deal to everyone but a peak user). I would be all for per megabit pricing if it was the primary model. Right now with phones that kind of pricing is generally the surprise overage charge that people don't really consider when signing the contracts, so it is nowhere near competitive.

  • Re:Come to Verizon! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Phrogger (230179) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @05:11PM (#31781932) Homepage

    > Ah, fuck it. Go mangle the English language. I'll be curled up in bed, sucking on my language-nazi thumb.

        Under the flourescent lights, no doubt. Some might say that your a looser! Their wrong, in a worser way than normal. You're comment inspires they're ire but you can likely find the compliment to it in any forum these days. It's pandemic.

        Phew,I'm glad to have that out of my system. :-)

    For the wannabe language-nazis:
    It's fluor, not flour. A fluorescent lamp is coated with a fluor.

    "Your" is possessive. "You're" is contraction of "you are", i.e. Your belt might be loose or looser. But you're probably going to be a loser if you gamble in Lost Wages.

    Worser is not a word. Never has and I hope it never is. Things go from bad to worse to worst.

    Their/they're/there: "Their" is possesive, i.e. Their car is green. "They're" is a contraction of "they are", i.e. They're there already.

    A compliment is a nice thing said about you: "You look marvelous" is a compliment. A complement is a match or counterpart (in the literal sense) for something. A Philips screwdriver and screw complement each other. Or it refers to a roster: The platoon is at full complement.

    "It's" is contraction of "it is". Its wrong to use it's in any other way.

        Well, those are my pet peeves anyway. :-)

  • by zooblethorpe (686757) on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:50AM (#31785942)

    With cockblockers like this Verison CEO we'll have the internet set back a decade.

    As the GP notes, it's already happened . When I left Japan in summer 2005, the slowest speed I could possibly get was around 24MBps, for a whopping $30/month ($20/month for the first three months). I have no idea what the minimum ISP offering is there now, but I'm sure it beats the pants off anything I could get here in USia. For that matter, here in Seattle, I get around 1.5MBps, for substantially more than $30/month... <sigh.>

    Cheers,

  • Re:Come to Verizon! (Score:3, Informative)

    by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2@nOspAm.gdargaud.net> on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:04AM (#31787016) Homepage

    "It's" is contraction of "it is". Its wrong to use it's in any other way.

    It's been a long time since I last heard something as wrong as that...

  • Re:Come to Verizon! (Score:2, Informative)

    by stewymcstewstew (869626) on Friday April 09, 2010 @06:06AM (#31787322)

    That might be fine for you, but seeing as 100 Mbit is the lowest I could get even if I tried here in Sweden

    Not everyone has access to stadsnät. Although I currently have a 100mbit (well 50-100mbit, but it's almost always at 100) through comhem, this is also not something that everyone has access to. A not insignificant amount of people in Sweden only have access to 24mbit ADSL connections. While I certainly appreciate the speed/price offerings in Sweden (I am from the rural US) it is unfair to imply that everyone in Sweden has 1gb connections.

    once you experience how fast your every day Internet becomes, there's no turning back.

    Now that I couldn't agree more with! Even at 24mbit it blows away my previous (and more expensive) 3mb connection I had while living in the US.

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