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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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  • by Achra (846023) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @01:56PM (#31779274) Journal
    According to TFA, it is only smartphone heavy users which will be hunted down. I can keep leeching on my FIOS as hard as I like! Hah!
  • This is it. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vivin (671928) <vivin,paliath&gmail,com> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @01:56PM (#31779284) Homepage Journal

    This is it, people! The end of the internet as we own it! After the ruling yesterday anyway... oh and also that combined with the fact that earlier this year we took a step towards corporate personhood, allowing corporations to participate in the political and legal process.

    Say goodbye to the free and open internet. Say hello to the tiered-pricing model, and the metered-usage model. These companies don't care about the users. They care about the bottom-line and profits. The free market won't help here, because obviously they're going to strong-arm any competition.

    Welcome to the Digital dark age. The US, the pioneer of the internet, will end up as a backwater province of the intarwebs.

    Maybe I'm being cynical and alarmist. Oh well.

  • by Mekkah (1651935) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:00PM (#31779350) Journal
    "We're so far ahead of everyone else, it's "not even close."

    Wiki article -- "List of countries by number of broadband Internet users" [] (and yes I realize % wise, we have more, but if you look at it that way, South Korea and Canada have than us..

    Although he is right on some of the issues, he is swinging and missing on some of the key issues. The FCC has to regulate somehow, if he as a better method that doesn't just poll in a way Verizon will come out #1 I'm sure they'd listen. But trying to regulate data usage isn't gonna fly for anyone Ivan. We've got to try to be better, so many people don't even have broadband...
  • by bennomatic (691188) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:01PM (#31779364) Homepage
    I'm actually with you on this. The cake^H^H^H^H flat-rate offerings are a lie. If they had reasonable per GB charges and easy ways to monitor them throughout the month, I see no reason not to go that route. A few bucks per GB in $0.01 increments would be fine with me.
  • Re:Come to Verizon! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:02PM (#31779406) Journal

    Seidenberg talks about how the FCC's broadband access studies are wrong (and the US is definitely 'number one, not even close')

    I think he meant to say "definitely not number one, not even close" as that would be true. What he actually said is malformed rubbish.
    The US is well behind countries such as Japan and Korea, which have widespread high speed access, either uncapped or with caps far higher than levels in the US. The Nordic countries also generally have uncapped high speed services. If you pay for bandwidth, it's there without any monthly capacity limits. I have 100/10 fiber to the house in rural Finland, and there are no caps. On bandwidth tests, I get the speed I'm paying for - all the time.

  • Not # 1 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by theaveng (1243528) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:03PM (#31779424)

    Even if you limit yourself to continent-sized federations, the Russian Federation is still 2 Mbit/s ahead (9.8 mbit/s) of the States of the Union (7.8 Mbit/s).

    So that puts us at #2, just ahead of the EU (6.9 Mbps), Canada, Australia, China, and Brazil (2.5 Mbit/s).

  • by Thud457 (234763) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:03PM (#31779432) Homepage Journal
    So they're going down the same road as AT&T ?
  • by RingDev (879105) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:07PM (#31779474) Homepage Journal

    n Japan, where everybody looks at Japan as being so far ahead, they may have faster speeds, but we have higher utilization of people using the Internet.

    What we we utilizing these people that are using the internet for?

    Assuming he meant to say "we have more people using the internet..." wouldn't that make sense, seeing as how we have almost triple their population?

    Yes. Verizon has put more fiber in from Boston to Washington than all the Western European countries combined

    Imagine that, Western European countries haven't put as much fiber in from Boston to Washington... who'da thunk it?


  • Unsurprising (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:08PM (#31779490)

    This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

    Essentially, using what you legitimately pay for will be seen as a contract violation to them, when legally you are in the right. Sadly, almost all people don't have the funds to take them to court, so that is how they will get away with it.

  • by wift (164108) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:14PM (#31779608) Journal

    Interesting read. I still don't consider the US #1 in broadband. I do defend it when people compare it to the faster much smaller in terms of sq mileage and people countries. I'm sure Verizon goes many steps further to qualify their self claim of #1.

    I had a Comcast rep come to my door just last week asking/begging me to come back to Comcast/xfinty. One of the many reasons why I switched was the cap Comcast was enforcing where I hadn't heard about Verizon's until now. My usage while not torrent heavy it is still active and I work from home 3 days a week so I would be concerned on any limitation. I have a 20/20 package and that seemed to floor him. "20 up?" he asked.

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

    by theaveng (1243528) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:19PM (#31779700)

    Hold on. Before you go too far in your European praise:

    According to, the European Union is still 0.9 Mbit/s slower (average) than the American Union (US). And about 3 Mbit/s slower than the Russian Federation.

  • by theaveng (1243528) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:23PM (#31779778)

    First off you should not have been modded troll. If I had points I'd mod you +1 Interesting.

    Second, my state government has a Public Utility Commission to regulate monopolies like electricity, natural gas, cable, and Verizon phone/internet. Doesn't yours? Government is already involved and regulating these industries.

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

    by iamhassi (659463) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:29PM (#31779898) Journal
    " I have 100/10 fiber to the house in rural Finland, and there are no caps. On bandwidth tests, I get the speed I'm paying for - all the time."

    And you use it for what, exactly?

    I've had my same 10/1 cable internet service for nearly ten years in the US. Two years ago I cancelled my regular TV cable service and went purely internet based media, streaming Hulu, torrents and iTunes to my TV. I don't even have an antenna for OTA programming. I haven't suffered, I still watch TV every night, and surf the net constantly without ever wishing for higher speeds.

    If I had 100/10 fiber my activities wouldn't change. Even though I'm constantly downloading everything the internet has to offer I have never felt like I needed a faster speed. It'd be like having a car capable of 200mph when the speed limit's 65, sure it's fun to have but how often would I get to use all that power?

    I think Ivan Seidenberg is absolutely right. All the tech news I've read, I don't see Japan and Europe coming out with anything amazing thanks to their faster internet services. Hulu is based in the US and only accessible to US citizens. PlayON, which I use to stream Hulu content to the TV, is based in the US []. Sites I use daily, eBay, Slashdot, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Myspace and many others, all created in the US. The best phones of the past decade, Google Android/Nexus and iPhone, were both created in the US for the US network, not other countries that are suppose to have amazing wireless networks.

    So tell me, all you other countries of the world with amazing fiber internet connections, what are you doing with your bandwidth? Are you using that 100mbps download often, or does it sit idly by at a few mbps 99% of the time?
  • by BarMonger (884208) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:58PM (#31780294)

    Ask any European if they're not somewhat envious of the advancements of smartphone technology in the US. So it just seems to me this is just not even close.

    We are not even a little envious. In fact, the use of smartphones in the US is considered somewhat of a joke. The iPhone, although pretty and easy to use, was a couple of steps backwards functionality wise.
    And were does he think all the latest smartphones (WinMobile, Android, Symbians) are coming from? HTC isn't US, neither is Nokia. And Google Nexus was produced by HTC.

    We have high speed mobile internet everywhere, something the US will never have, considering the fact that the US is so much larger and less densely populated.

    If you look at Europe, they publish penetration rates of 150 (percent), 160 (percent), 170 percent meaning that people have more than one phone, two phones, three phones.

    You know why? Roaming rates are so high. My guess is you probably have two or three different phones to carry to—to use in different countries because your roaming rates are so high. And you say, yes.

    No, it's because everyone have at least one phone, just as the numbers indicate. Some people (myself included) have more than one phone because we use them for different purposes (work/personal for me, some kids have one phone on prepaid and another on a regular subscription).
    I've never heard of anyone buying a second phone to use in another country.

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

    Fuck you.

  • by llvllatrix (839969) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:58PM (#31780300)

    Yup, valid points and I agree, the situation is paralyzing; I'm a heavy user myself. The point I'm trying to make is that by involving government intervention, you will more often than not make the situation worse and not better.

    The historic economic data, in almost all cases states explicitly that if you want more production then you need more competition, and not less. More government regulation has a tendency, as you have pointed out, to decrease competitive pressures.

    Here's an absurd example to illustrate my point. Lets say that all across the US, people like to knit. Naturally, the prices of yarn start to go up and the hardcore knitters get mad. The get the government to pass a law saying that the providers of yarn can't charge more than $X.

    It no longer becomes profitable for the small yarn produces to stay in business because losses to profit affect them more and the larger companies are all that remain. Of the companies that remain, none of them have any incentive to change what they're doing because the price is fixed; the result isn't more yarn being produced.

    Lets say that the hardcore yarn makers instead get the government to subsidize yarn production. Now you have a situation where everyone in the United States is paying for a hobby that few people have. The cost of that subsidy would in turn would be the loss of productive effort elsewhere.

    A valid point can be made for legal intervention however. If Verizon submits a contract to provide a certain amount of bandwidth and subsequently forfeits that contract, it is in the interest of all citizens to see Verizon held accountable. That recourse is a desirable function of the marketplace.

  • by MikeURL (890801) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:59PM (#31780302) Journal
    At least in terms of Wireless data AT&T is under the watchful eye of The Jobs. I'm sure that ATT would have been throttling people on iPhones a long time ago if Apple were not standing on their neck demanding more bandwidth. And even though you are trolling you have a valid point. Steve has that kind of power over ATT precisely because of the exclusivity. Steve can demand, and get, a 2 billion dollar bump in capex. Steve can demand, and get, a team of engineers from ATT to work with the iPhone engineers.

    I think a lot of people underestimate the power Apple is wielding behind the scenes due to the fact that they haven't just thrown the iPhone and iPad out to anyone who will take it. They have partnered with ATT and even though there have been well publicized growing pains I think it would have been much much worse if the phone had just been thrown out there to any carrier that wanted it. As T likes to point out, and I've no reason to doubt it, they saw more growth in wireless bandwidth use in a shorter period of time than any company, ever.

    What we can see in this interview is how the telecoms really feel about heavy users. They have never met a problem that they don't want to solve with throttling and maybe that should put exclusivity in a different light--particularly when the person the telecom has to answer to is Steve Jobs (way better than a whole phalanx of FCCs)
  • by aliases (874562) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @03:00PM (#31780324)
    Being a Verizon consumer and having a broadband mobile data package that I use when tethering, I receive txt messaging reminding me when I've come close to my quota. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I go over I was under the impression that I would be charge steeply per MB over my quota. So I wonder, being a consumer that they already have on record (since I pay my bill), when they come to my address on record to find me using my quota as advertised, will Verizon physically throttle my usage by exchanging my device for an less capable model?
  • Re:Come to Verizon! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nextekcarl (1402899) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @03:10PM (#31780454)

    "This car gets 400mpg"

    That sort of thing is probably even why car companies are not allowed to post any mpg ratings except for what the EPA tests show, even when they are known to be rather inaccurate (as was discovered and eventually corrected for (I believe) with hybrids like the Prius). Sometimes industries basically end up demanding regulation even if they don't want it. And then they twist it to keep new players out, but that's another debate...

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

    by BlueBat (748360) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @03:11PM (#31780476)
    I have been told of the cap. When I was with my father, he was looking to get some mobile broadband, I always asked what their caps were and was always told it was 5GB per month. Unfortunately, my father would need a lot more than that for his business needs. Even AT&T had the 5GB per month limit. At every place we checked, they would tell us the limit if we asked. I didn't have anyone trying to lie to us. Now if they would have told us of the limit had I not asked, I don't know.
  • Re:Dishonest (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Richy_T (111409) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @03:28PM (#31780720) Homepage

    I'd rather have a guaranteed unlimited relatively low bandwidth with a limited amount of bursty high-bandwidth activity. Most of what I download I'm in no hurry for but it would be nice to be able to kick in some real speed from time to time.

  • Re:Dishonest (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Muad'Dave (255648) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @03:43PM (#31780928) Homepage

    That would make web browsing painful. Comcast has this boost feature that gives you +50% or so speed increase for the first 10+- secs of a connection. I can see it kick in on Nice for getting website images, but useless (as intended) for torrents.

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

    by daremonai (859175) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @03:43PM (#31780930)

    Seidenberg: Yes. Verizon has put more fiber in from Boston to Washington than all the Western European countries combined.

    This is the one unarguably true statement he made. After all, why would Western European countries be putting in fiber from Boston to Washington to begin with? Seems a little out of the way.

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

    by ahodgson (74077) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @04:00PM (#31781122)

    Do you assume Canada has a much bigger larger population than the US?

  • by (245670) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @04:10PM (#31781206)

    "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--"

    He obviously doesn't comprehend the nature of he service and devices that his company sells. Srsly,

    That line was aimed at smartphone users. Smartphones are DESIGNED to "camp on the network all day long every day doing things". Like getting mail updates, weather updates (activated and enabled by default!), and the like. And those are just built-in services included with the phone that are designed to run constantly. There are also IM apps, twitter apps, navigation apps (one provided BY VERIZON!!!), etc. which are constantly generating network traffic.

    A person who does not understand the product and/or service that his company sells should not be in a position to dictate policy and this guy's the freakin' CEO!

    And it's all the government trying to stick their nose in and tell them how to run their business. Again, "wow". The government isn't forcing Verizon to advertise their services as unlimited. That's all Verizon. The government got involved when ISPs started to LIMIT the service provided to people with those UNLIMITED plans. If they want the government to stay out, don't advertise a product or service that you don't want to deliver. Offer the products and services that you're willing to provide. If people feel your product or service has value within the terms that it is offered, they will buy it.

    And people who use the service they were sold are "abusers" because they're in the top 10 percent. That the hell is that crap? There will ALWAYS be a top 10 percent. Makes it awful convenient if you want to ensure there's always a villain.

    This guy seems pissed that he might be forced to deliver the service that his company advertised and sold.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @04:32PM (#31781510) Journal

    >>>Just imagine if you had 5 or 6 data pipes from different companies crossing your yard.

    It would be just ONE metal pipe, with the fibers/coax/twisted-pair cables inside that single government-owned metal conduit. Also the metal pipe, like most water/sewer pipes, would run down the middle of the street not through people's yards.


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

    by overlordofmu (1422163) <> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @04:52PM (#31781720)
    As a person that worked at an ISP in Customer Service berfore getting a paying programming job, I can say there is also the problem of an uneducated consumer base. The rate we advertised was 10 Mbps. Now, I will ask you to note the lower case letter "b" in Mbps.

    "Mbps" mean megabits per seconds. That is bits not bytes. Now this is Slashdot and we all know the difference. This a paraphrasing of an actual customer interaction:

    Customer: I am only getting 1.25 megabytes per second on my download according to the speed test I just ran.
    Me: Yes, sir. I need to point out that you gave the speed in megabytes and line speeds are quoted in bits not bytes. 1.25 megabytes is equal to 10 megabits, which is the advertised speed.
    Customer: No, it's not.
    Me: Pardon me? What is not?
    Customer: Your promised speed is 10 megabytes a second.
    Me: No, sir. It is megabits.
    Customer: Megabits and megabytes are the same thing.
    Me: I do apologize for disagreeing with you, but there are eight bits to a byte and 10 Mbps is equal to 1.25 MBps.
    Customer: What are you talking about? Listen, loser, you need to get a tech out here to fix this.
    Me: But, sir, as I have already tried to explain, you are getting the advertised speed.
    Customer: Don't you lie to me! I want to talk to your manager!

    And don't even ask me about the racists that called to demand we remove BET from our cable line up when we added it . . .
  • Translation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Skapare (16644) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:36PM (#31782936) Homepage

    "... they may have faster speeds, but we have higher utilization of people using the Internet"

    Translation: "our network is totally saturated and overloaded"

Going the speed of light is bad for your age.