When the appeals court in Washington invalidated the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules last month, many wondered how long it would take for Internet providers to start using the ruling to limit their customers’ bandwidth. It seems that the answer is “three weeks.”
David Raphael, director of engineering for Dallas security scanning company iScan Online, published a post on his blog today offering evidence he’s found that Verizon is limiting the bandwidth on its FiOS network for both his company and his home account. After noticing inexplicable drops in on Verizon’s FiOS, he started digging, eventually ending up on a chat with a Verizon customer service rep.
Towards the end of the chat, Raphael confronted the rep with what he’d found, and asked (a few times) if Verizon was limiting bandwidth:
As you can see, the rep said, “Yes, it is limited bandwidth to cloud providers,” referencing Amazon Web Services cloud storage, on which iScan hosts its infrastructure. He also asked whether this bandwidth capping policy started recently, and if that’s why his Netflix quality at home has degraded so much, and the rep replied, “Yes, exactly.”
It’s important to note that, as of now, this is all anecdotal evidence. It’s not quite the smoking gun advocates for Net Neutrality might be looking for—irrefutable proof that Verizon is screwing its customers for the simple reason that it can. But even still, I wouldn’t be surprised if this weren’t the last example of evidence that surfaces of Verizon looking to slow the flow of data now that Net Neutrality has been defanged.
Moreover, I expect we’ll see similar reports coming from customers with other service providers. I have Comcast, and I fully expect them to shut down the Internet pipe to cut down on the bandwidth usage that crops up from Netflix and other media streaming.
Hopefully this is all a temporary bump in the road and further courtroom showdowns will keep this kind of thing from happening for too long. But until that happens, everyone keep your eyes trained on your data speeds.