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Verizon Networking The Internet

FiOS User Finds Limit of 'Unlimited' Data Plan: 77 TB/Month 573

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-big-or-go-home dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A California user of Verizon's FiOS fiber-optic internet service put his unlimited data plan to the test. Over the month of March, he totaled over 77 terabytes of internet traffic, which finally prompted a call from a Verizon employee to see what he was doing. The user had switched to a 300Mbps/65Mbps plan in January, and averaged 50 terabytes of traffic per month afterward. 'An IT professional who manages a test lab for an Internet storage company, [the user] has been providing friends and family a personal VPN, video streaming, and peer-to-peer file service—running a rack of seven servers with 209TB of raw storage in his house.' The Verizon employee who contacted him said he was violating the service agreement. "Basically he said that my bandwidth usage was excessive (like 30,000 percent higher than their average customer)," [the user] said. '[He] wanted to know WTF I was doing. I told him I have a full rack and run servers, and then he said, "Well, that's against our ToS." And he said I would need to switch to the business service or I would be disconnected in July. It wasn't a super long call.'"
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FiOS User Finds Limit of 'Unlimited' Data Plan: 77 TB/Month

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  • by marklark (39287) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:00AM (#43812677) Homepage

    'nuf said.

    • by EmagGeek (574360) <(moc.loa) (ta) (hciretg)> on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:08AM (#43812777) Journal

      Yep. Running servers is against Verizon's residential ToS. Regardless of how much BW the guy is using, he's breaking the rules.

      • by BitwiseX (300405) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:28AM (#43813097)

        Yep. Running servers is against Verizon's residential ToS. Regardless of how much BW the guy is using, he's breaking the rules.

        BINGO!
        Another misleading Slashdot title. This is fairly run of the mill for residential ISP service. I bet it was a short conversation! They called him to try to find out if he was doing anything against their ToS, because of his bandwidth usage, and he flat out admitted it.
        If he had answered "Netflix" (and that was believable), would the conversation have gone differently? Hard to say, because that conversation didn't even happen.

        • by jeffmeden (135043) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:39AM (#43813235) Homepage Journal

          Yep. Running servers is against Verizon's residential ToS. Regardless of how much BW the guy is using, he's breaking the rules.

          BINGO!

          Another misleading Slashdot title. This is fairly run of the mill for residential ISP service. I bet it was a short conversation! They called him to try to find out if he was doing anything against their ToS, because of his bandwidth usage, and he flat out admitted it.

          If he had answered "Netflix" (and that was believable), would the conversation have gone differently? Hard to say, because that conversation didn't even happen.

          I can see that conversation turning out fine:
                    "Sir, records show you moved 77 terabytes, with a T, as in 77 thousand gigabytes"
          "Yeah, I don't know how to explain it, I have been watching a lot of netflix lately"
                    "Sir this amount of traffic is equivalent to watching netflix on 90 screens at a time, 24 hours a day, every day of the month"
          "Yeah, you obviously haven't gotten addicted to Breaking Bad yet"

      • by PPH (736903) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:42AM (#43813273)

        So, if his answer would have been, "Porn. 77TB of porn" Verizon would have had no recourse?

        The whole 'server' restriction is more about pushing business to Verizon's partners then limiting bandwidth. I have a couple of home servers for e-mail and my video security system. Nobody gets into them but me, so I don't pop up on anyone's usage radar*. If Verizon doesn't like the bandwidth, then have them address that in the ToS (specifically with an upload restriction). But they can't say they don't like competition by users who roll their own because of antitrust issues.

        *I don't have Verizon service.

        • by Keith Mickunas (460655) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:59AM (#43813497) Homepage

          They're not pushing people to their partners. If you have high bandwidth demands they want you on a business plan, which this guy had, then he switched to a consumer plan to save money, and violated their ToS.

          Verizon isn't going to stop people who are hosting a personal site (although they block port 80). They aren't going after people hosting a few friends on a game server. But their ToS do permit them to cancel your service if you are hosting a server, and they use this for people abusing the service, like this guy. Their ToS also prevents you from hosting your own ISP on their consumer line or anything like that.

          And look at what this guy did, 50TB for multiple months, then he hit 77TB, and that's when they finally called him on it. If their "unlimited" plan (not that they market it as such) goes up into the 10's of TB, is that really a problem?

        • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Friday May 24, 2013 @11:13AM (#43813673)

          So, if his answer would have been, "Porn. 77TB of porn" Verizon would have had no recourse?

          Sure they would. "We choose not to serve you as a customer."

          Problem solved.

      • by intellitech (1912116) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:43AM (#43813295)

        Define "server." Software? Hardware? I think that clause of the ToS is bullshit, and here's why.

        If running a "server" is a violation of a ToS, then every single person that has file-sharing enabled on their Windows computer at home is liable to be disconnected. In fact, anybody that has an xbox or a media center PC is likely in violation of this clause, too. I think that the amount of bandwidth he was using was massively unreasonable, but seriously, if you're going to terminate someone, AT LEAST CALL IT WHAT IT IS. Just put a clause into the residential ToS that states that anything beyond 25-50TB in a month is unreasonable and grounds for termination. Ugh.

      • by SuperBanana (662181) on Friday May 24, 2013 @11:17AM (#43813719)

        Yep. Running servers is against Verizon's residential ToS. Regardless of how much BW the guy is using, he's breaking the rules.

        "running a server" at one point was taken to mean, by Comcast, to have something listening on port 25, and would result in your connection being shut off. It's one thing to say someone is using too much bandwidth. It's another to say they're not allowed to do certain completely normal things with it.

        It wasn't about bandwidth. Cloud backup software uses far more bandwidth than my piddly little web server ever did, but guess which one threw Comcast into a tizzy?

        This is about controlling who produces versus who consumes, and Comcast wants you to consume.

    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:29AM (#43813107) Homepage Journal

      It sounds like the objection was that he ran servers, the bandwidth thing was merely the trigger to ask.

      I'm baffled ISPs still think "servers" are something that needs banning. Reminds me of when so many clueless ISPs banned NAT (or rather connection sharing between multiple PCs in general.)

      • by jeffmeden (135043) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:46AM (#43813343) Homepage Journal

        It sounds like the objection was that he ran servers, the bandwidth thing was merely the trigger to ask.

        I'm baffled ISPs still think "servers" are something that needs banning. Reminds me of when so many clueless ISPs banned NAT (or rather connection sharing between multiple PCs in general.)

        Not many providers think they need "banning" but they are a pretty easy trigger to get out of selling someone a residential service when they are clearly using it for business purposes. If you don't abuse the bandwidth, you can serve anything you want.

  • Misleading Title (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:01AM (#43812689)

    FiOS user finds how to violate TOS

  • Sweet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bhlowe (1803290) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:02AM (#43812711)
    So switch to the business plan. Jeeze, still a super deal. I have Comcast business and its worth the extra $50/mo for static IPs and much higher bandwidth.
    • by Assmasher (456699)

      Exactly, I get 100 mbps, unlimited, and static IP for $122/month (that's a good price in my area.)

    • Re:Sweet (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:27AM (#43813077)

      If only it was always that easy. Comcrap put me on 6 months of "probation" a couple years ago. "You're moving too much data. If you don't stay below 250 gigs per month, we're shutting off your service and blacklisting you for a year." This was their first contact so I figured no biggie. Let's just switch me to a business account. What's the monthly limit on those. "I don't have information on business plans but you can't switch because you're on probation. Call back in six months."

      That's when I realized ISPs don't want you to pay for the data you move. They want you to pay for data you don't move. They want a bunch of octogenarians who fire up the computer once a week to check their email for pics of the grandkids.

      They quietly stopped enforcing the 250 gig cap around the time my probation was up so I'm back to my old patterns on the normal residential account. If they'd been smart enough to let me switch to business class service instead of spanking me like a child, they would have been collecting more money all this time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:04AM (#43812733)

    Arrr, tis no man but a remorseless downloading machine.

  • by kcmastrpc (2818817) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:04AM (#43812741)
    netflix.
  • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:05AM (#43812747)

    User violates ToS and gets called on it. This is news?

    Now, if he had NOT been running all those services for friends, if he himself just liked to stream 200 different movies on his 30 TVs, and download copious quantities of non-copyright infringing torrents for his "library", maybe that would be a different story.

    • by tippe (1136385) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:35AM (#43813191)

      No, violating the ToS isn't newsworthy in itself, but the way in which he did it certainly is. I find it incredible that someone was actually able to consume 77TB of bandwidth in a month on a residential connection. That would have been inconceivable even a short while ago. Maybe in a couple of years this sort of thing will become mundane, but at the moment it's quite impressive regardless of how it was done, and certainly deserves to be mentioned on a site that supposedly caters to nerds.

      Maybe you just aren't nerdy enough to appreciate this and should hand in your nerd card.

      I suppose it's also possible that you are some sort of super-nerd that does this kind of thing regularly and has become so jaded that you won't be impressed until someone streams petabytes of data to their smart watch in less than 10 minutes. If true, prove it, then I'll hand you my nerd card...

  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:05AM (#43812749)

    I think "WTF are you doing consuming 77 terabits a month" is a legitimate question. I read TFA yesterday and I realized that Verizon probably can't afford to have a whole lot of users chewing up that kind of bandwidth. Asking him to switch to business service does not out of line to me, considering that he's running these servers for business use.

    Note, also, they handled this with a short phone call rather than a nasty-gram or just cutting off his service without warning. That's more courtesy than I'd expect from a big ISP, given some of the horror stories I've heard.

  • 77TB? Sigh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:06AM (#43812751) Journal
    I'm stuck with Bell Canada who has me capped at 66GB a month. (I know I know - tekksaavy etc. I'll be switching later this summer...) 77TB is almost a fuckton of data. (At least metric, where 10TB is a shitload, and 10 shitloads = fuckton) It might be different in the states, I dunno. I need some coffee...
  • by areusche (1297613) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:07AM (#43812765)
    While I hate someone who advertises "Unlimited" with a limited catch, he was running a ton of servers from his home. They have business class internet connections for something like that. Verizon should just advertise their home accounts with the limits posted. 77 terabytes in one month is a hell of a ton of data even if you were watching Netflix 24/7 at HD.
  • by bwcbwc (601780) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:16AM (#43812891)

    It's because of people like you that we can't have nice things (service).

    Nice to see your business is going so well, though.

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:17AM (#43812907) Journal

    "77 terabytes last month. WTF are you doing?"

    "I run a small web site that was quoted and slashdotted."

  • realization (Score:4, Funny)

    by splatter (39844) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:23AM (#43813015)

    Humm,

    Verizon FIOS: yeah ok, I have 20/5 d/u

    DAAP Music streaming
    p2p bit torrent
    VPN
    UPnP movie server
    web page
    TOR
    SSH tunneling
    File server

    Still haven't hit anything near that transfer rate in over 5 years total, I need more friends...

  • by Reschekle (2661565) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:26AM (#43813067)

    I'd like for someone to point to marketing or promo material from Verizon calling this plan an 'unlimited' plan. While it's possible the marketing guys screwed it up, it's more likely that this plan was never labeled an 'unlimited' plan at all. For some reason when ISPs crack down on excessive use, there are always hordes of people who claimed they purchased an 'unlimited' plan when the evidence says otherwise.

    Companies like AOL got in trouble because they went from only having time-metered dialup plans to having so-called unlimited plans where you could stay dialed in as long as you'd like. A lot of people took them up on this and left themselves dialed in for weeks at a time. AOL took it upon themselves to make exceptions to this (as it impacted service for other users - no free lines for customers to dial in to!) but never put in any fine print in. AOL got sued and lost over this, and subsequently they started changing the wording of their marketing materials and putting in fine print.

    Now days nobody expects broadband to have the same types of limits so the ISPs simply just don't bother with the 'unlimited' verbage. They prefer to use terms like 'always on' and such, which means something entirely different.

  • by dmomo (256005) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:27AM (#43813075) Homepage

    If everyone behaved the same as this guy, I'm sure that Verizon would not be able to offer the service at the consumer price.
    70 Terabytes would certainly be the equivalent of "unlimited" to me. This isn't to defend Verizon, as I do agree that they could find a way to make the limits of their plan more clear.

    I Suppose Verizon COULD, instead of using the term "unlimited" call the plan: the 50 Terabytes / month plan.

    But, for typical consumers, this *IS* unlimited and those numbers just might make choosing an Internet provider more complicated. In fact, if my parents were asking for advice on an Internet service, I would indeed say: "oh, don't worry about those numbers, that pretty much means unlimited for you guys".

    By adding these numbers to the plan, competitors could simply up the numbers, while adding no real value for the user. Even Verizon could even offer a 100 Terabyte plan for "only $20 more a month". The average consumer would see this as value, while in reality they would just be paying more.

  • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:30AM (#43813123) Homepage

    This case really IS excessive; it goes well beyond what an individual user would reasonably use on their own.

    Most of the OTHER cases (esp. cable companies) involve mysterious limits that individuals can break by watching (or downloading) too much online video. Of course, if you buy the cable company's overpriced TV services, you can watch as many shows as you like, on however many set top boxes you have, drawing down an unlimited volume of video-over-IP traffic to do it. Just don't watch video that competes with the cable provider, and it's all good.

  • by Vulcanworlds (2628215) on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:32AM (#43813145)
    Section 4.3 Restrictions on Use.

    The Service is a consumer grade service and is not designed for or intended to be used for any commercial purpose. You may not resell, re-provision or rent the Service, (either for a fee or without charge) or allow third parties to use the Service via wired, wireless or other means. For example, you may not provide Internet access to third parties through a wired or wireless connection or use the Service to facilitate public Internet access (such as through a Wi-Fi hotspot), use it for high volume purposes, or engage in similar activities that constitute such use (commercial or non-commercial). If you subscribe to a Broadband Service, you may connect multiple computers/devices within a single home to your modem and/or router to access the Service, but only through a single Verizon-issued IP address. You also may not exceed the bandwidth usage limitations that Verizon may establish from time to time for the Service, or use the Service to host any type of server. Violation of this section may result in bandwidth restrictions on your Service or suspension or termination of your Service.

    http://www.verizon.net/policies/vzcom/tos_popup.asp [verizon.net]

    Well here's how they can artificially cap your unlimited plan. 'may not exceed the bandwidth usage limitations that Verizon may establish from time to time' or 'use the Service to host any type of server'.

    Plus the AUP allows them to nab you from anything from off-topic posts (Attactment A.2.e) to hitting IP's in embargo'd countries (cuba, sudan, etc) Attactment A.2.l. And unless this somehow excludes personal server, my guess is tons of users are violating some part of the ToS.

  • I was told I used too much bandwidth on a 6mbps DSL line. No warning, just turned it off. Got them to turn it back on, which a week later they shut it down and told me to go elsewhere. So I did. While I didn't do 77TB of data in a month, apparently I hit 1.5TB on my highest month. Which I don't find to be that much, not for someone who spends 16 hours a day on his computer at home.

    Anyways, now i have a much faster internet and supposed to have a cap of 450gb a month.

  • What the fuck man? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cshark (673578) on Friday May 24, 2013 @11:49AM (#43814159)

    Dude, it's assholes like this that make telecom companies see the need for data caps in the first place. If you're doing that kind of data transfer, you need to be on a business plan. If you know enough to create that kind of set up, you know enough to know what kind of plan you need to be on. Stop fucking up the home networks people. You're dealing with companies that have lost their minds! The last thing you want to do is feed their delusions.

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