WASHINGTON Aug 4 Verizon Communications Inc
defended its decision to slow data downloads for some
customers using older unlimited data plans, telling U.S.
regulators it was a "widely accepted" and lawful part of network
In a letter dated Aug. 1, Verizon responded to U.S. Federal
Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, who last week
wrote Verizon Wireless Chief Executive Dan Mead to say he was
"deeply troubled" by Verizon's plans.
In July, Verizon said high speed wireless customers who
subscribe to the company's legacy unlimited data plans might
experience slower speeds starting Oct. 1. [ID:nL2N0Q52R7}
The company has a similar policy in place for customers on
its slower 3G network.
"The type of network optimization policy that we follow has
been endorsed by the FCC as a narrowly targeted way to ensure a
fair allocation of capacity during times of congestion,"
Kathleen Grillo, senior vice president of federal regulatory
affairs at Verizon, said in the letter.
"In short this practice has been widely accepted with little
or no controversy," Grillo added in the letter, a copy of which
was obtained by Reuters.
Verizon, the largest U.S. wireless carrier, noted that the
practice of slowing down certain users' networks in order to
prevent congestion has been widely used by broadband providers
and its competitors.
"We absolutely know that it was the right thing to do and we
know that it was in line with the FCC's principles," Mead said
on Monday, in a meeting with a group of journalists.
Wheeler's reprimand of Verizon came as he is seeking to
establish himself as a strong defender of web users' interests
and someone prepared to punish Internet service providers whose
business practices may hurt consumers or competition.
His efforts follow the FCC's proposal of new "net
neutrality" rules that guide how broadband providers manage web
traffic on their networks, which has drawn fire from consumer
advocates, the public and some Internet companies.
Verizon added that while its high speed network has great
advantage over its slower 3G network, its capacity remains
shared and limited.
Verizon stopped offering unlimited plans in 2012. U.S.
wireless carriers have been working to shift their increasingly
data-hungry subscribers onto tiered pricing plans, which charge
customers for specific amounts of data they agree to consume.
(Reporting by Alina Selyukh in Washington and Marina Lopes in
New York; Editing by Tom Brown)