The Federal Communications Commission has told America’s wireless carriers that it’s fine if they want to drastically cut back the speed of data (or “throttle”) that their heaviest users have access to: they need to spell out to customers exactly what behaviors lead to throttling. T-Mobile has spelled this out quite clearly…in an internal memo for employees, not necessarily a clear guide for customers. [More]
Mike’s phone spent two weeks in the repair depot at Samsung. When it came back, shortly afterward his data stopped working. Oh, no! Would it have to go back for more repairs already? Well… no, that wasn’t the problem. The problem is that his mobile carrier, Straight Talk, has throttled his data access down to nothing. [More]
The battle over the word “unlimited” has begun, as AT&T customers are fighting back against the Death Star’s throttling of so-called “data hogs,” even though available info shows that most of these people are using completely reasonable amounts of data for owners of unlimited plans. [More]
Back in July, we first wrote about AT&T’s plan to start throttling data for wireless customers with unlimited plans who crossed over into the top 5% of data users. And starting in October, those customers began getting warning texts from the Death Star. But in recent months, we’re seeing more and more complaints from people who are receiving these texts but whose data usage isn’t terribly high. [More]
AT&T customers have known for months that the cell phone provider would start throttling the top 5 percent of data users on unlimited plans, and now the prospect has come closer to reality. AT&T has been sending text messages to data hogs warning them that their service could soon be slowed and advising them to escape the punishment by using WiFi more often. [More]
We recently asked readers if they thought that T-Mobile’s unlimited data plans are actually unlimited if they still begin throttling your download speed after a certain threshold. An overwhelming number of you said “no.” Now a newly leaked document shows that T-Mobile is looking to possibly ditch at least one unlimited-but-throttled plan to go with the limited-then-pay-overage-fees model. [More]
Earlier today, rumors were circulating that AT&T would begin throttling the data speeds of users who went over a certain usage threshold. Now, the company has confirmed these reports, though it does not give specifics on what line a user has to cross before their data starts going at a snail’s pace. [More]
As we noted in April, when T-Mobile proudly announced that it was offering “unlimited” data plans for smartphones, there should be a pretty sizable asterisk next to “unlimited,” because, after the user consumes 2GB of data in a month, T-Mobile throttles back on the speed at which any further data is delivered. Some would call that a “limit,” but T-Mobile continues to disagree and has rolled out a handful of additional unlimited-with-throttling plans. [More]
Ever have one of those days where you’re browsing along, everything is cool, but then it seems like whenever you try to watch YouTube or download, your speed suddenly plummets? Your ISP could be “shaping” your traffic, intentionally throttling your rates for certain kind of media. To test it out, you can try running this Glasnost test. [More]
Jeff is patiently waiting for the recently released movies in his Netflix queue, but his taste in films is evidently working against him. He says that the top ten discs in his queue all have long waits, and he is frustrated. Is he being throttled, a victim of having popular tastes, or both? [More]
Comcast has settled a $16 million class-action lawsuit accusing the Internet provider of preventing customers from sharing files via BitTorrent. The suit alleges that Comcast sold users “unlimited” internet access that was, in fact, quite limited. Comcast still admits no wrongdoing, and affected customers will receive up to $16 each as part of the settlement. Ka-ching! [More]
The FCC today proposed new rules to protect and preserve “net neutrality,” the idea that ISPs must treat all users the same and not prejudice against different types of customers. In a speech, Chairman Julius Genachowski supported adopting the “Four Freedoms” first articulated by the FCC in 2004 (PDF) not just as principles but as formal rules, and adding two more: “non-discrimination” and “transparency.” The big networks are, naturally, incensed.
Robert’s recent experience with his local Blockbuster just underscores how ill-equipped the rental chain is to compete against Netflix and new-star-on-the-block Redbox. Whether Robert has caught them deliberately throttling his account, or he’s just the victim of a poorly implemented system, it’s not the kind of customer experience you should have to settle for anymore.
Earlier this week, we posted an email from a frustrated Qwest customer who said he couldn’t download YouTube and other online videos at a speed equivalent to the Qwest service he was paying for. Qwest wrote to us, and spoke to the customer, and swore they were not interfering with any download rates. Instead, it looks like the problem is with OpenDNS, a free service that usually speeds up downloading, but that seems to have an issue when it comes to certain video streams.
Update: It turns out the problem is with OpenDNS, not Qwest. The original post is below.
Google has assembled a suite of free tools (developed by researchers, not by Google itself) that let you measure things like BitTorrent throttling, upload/download speeds, and last mile snafus. In exchange for “free,” the test data is being made public to enable further study of broadband connections. You might want to bookmark the site for future reference when you’re trying to figure out what’s going on with your ISP.