Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the Federal Communication Commission, isn’t impressed with Verizon’s recently announced plan to throttle the speeds on its unlimited plans. In a letter to CEO Dan Mead, he asked Verizon to respond to three questions about its plans. Verizon’s stated reasons for the new policy is to help it manage its LTE network congestion, but Wheeler’s query indicates he’s pretty skeptical of Verizon’s justification.
My colleague Kevin Fitchard described the plan this way:
The letter from Chairman Wheeler is actually pretty scathing, especially for an agency that recently lost a major court case against Verizon over network neutrality. Wheeler writes:
Wheeler argues that not only does the transparency aspect of the now-neutered Open Internet Order apply here, but asked if this behavoir is justifiable under the terms of the 700 MHz auction that saw Verizon picking up spectrum that came with some caveats — namely that it may not “deny, limit, or restrict the ability of end users to download and utilize applications of their choosing,” on the chunk of Verizon spectrum used to deliver some LTE services.
While the letter is strongly worded, I do wonder why the agency is focused on Verizon when other wireless operators also throttle unlimited users on their networks. Perhaps it has a bone to pick with Big Red and the means to do so thanks to the rules associated with the 700 Mhz auction.