Evidence Surfaces of Verizon Capping Bandwidth After Net Neutrality Ruling

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.

About the author

— Brian P. Rubin

Brian's been a writer-for-hire for the better part of ten years, creating content for Geek Magazine, Machinima, and even Hasbro's Trivial Pursuit. After living in New York for most of his life, he recently relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he plays drums in his band, the Lost Wheels, and roams the land for the midwest's best approximation of actual pizza.

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  1. I will dump Verizon in a hot second for at&t paying early termination fees and all. No patience for that kind of manipulation.

    1. too many people love theos e’free’ phone plans with their contracts, which is why they have E.T.Fs to begin with. There have been too many customers walking away after renewing their contracts, getting that new phone as a result, and then walking away, leaving the carrier to eat the cost, which they pass on to the next, new customer they sign up. The process is old and wore out.
      If people would ‘man up’ and buy their phones outright, there really would be no need for a contract. If you really, really ‘need’a contract, then, by all means, sign up! But in the long run, prepaid service is the cost effective way to go, and you have no termination fees, no contracts to deal with, and those ETF fees can be quite enormous, but hey, why worry about such things, your job is safe, you are not being scheduled for lay-off, so why worry about the future….until……!
      Now you have to consider that contract you signed, the monthly fees that keep building up, even when you have nothing coming in.
      Prepaid is easier, no contracts, no termination fees, and you already bought your device, so they can’t use that against you, so where IS the problem with prepaid?

      I know, it’s that stigma that a prepaid customer gains for choosing to NOT be tied down to a contract, that’s it.
      Prepaid folks can LEAVE anytime they please, if their service falls, dropped calls increase, service quality drops, customer service goes tango uniform, you CAN’T leave, you have that dreaded CONTRACT to honor, but prepaid users CAN just walk away and sign up with a better carrier/service.

      Carriers design their contracts around the perception that being on a contract is far better, and they offer slightly lower costs as a result, but in the end, it is not cheaper or more cost-effective, as you have a contract rope around your neck, and the carrier’s USE that rope to force you to continue paying, and if you miss payments, they do you the next big favor by submitting your name to the fraudulent credit companies! Now your name is being ruined by a mistake, and that mistake follows you for seven years or more!

      Yes sir, contracts are such a great deal for everybody….NOT!

  2. Far too many communications companies limit bandwidth under the arcane idea that it is a valuable commodity, and can never be replaced if used up.
    Funny thing is, that bandwidth is actually a ‘limit’ imposed by the type of service and the infrastructure supporting it, not the ‘bandwidth’ in and of itself.
    Data is not a self-limiting entity, it is restricted by the suppliers of the data, and the equipment that data is transmitted through.
    How much ‘data’ can you expect to pass through a single 12.5 KHz. RF channel at any given moment? If you said under 5 MB, you would be correct, the channel is ‘the’ pipe for which the data is transmitted, and THAT is the constriction in the data path, not the actual data signals. If you need to use 10 million gallons of water every hour, you do NOT use a pipe that can only supply 500 gallons of water per hour, it is simple mathematics people.
    Verizon is just one that is attempting to limit you and I for an invisible ‘creature’ called ‘bandwidth’, and making you think it IS a rare species, when in fact, it is not.
    If you do not use the cap placed on your service agreement, you will never ‘see’ that cap being put into action against you, but if you do use every byte of your plan’s data capacity, and even go just a few MB over, you can see the effects of this cap on your bill.
    Verizon and ALL data systems use this to MAKE MONEY from customers using more data, it makes good business sense to penalize the ‘hogs’ the feed at the data trough, but in that same feed trough, you have the ‘seed eaters’, the data users that do not have a huge appetite for vast amounts of data, so these customers never reach their caps, and are unaware they even exist.

    Funny, but if I were o build a system to support vast amounts of data, be it through a cellular network or WiFi or even simple RF networks, I would build my network to allow huge volumes of data to be transmitted, and price my service accordingly, not play king of the data and cap small time data hogs with added fees during the following billing cycles. I would want everybody feeding, not just a select few, that’s insane!

    Supply a darn good product or service, back it up with full reliability, and you CAN charge good, reasonable fees for use. I would BE the best, simply by offering the BEST. This is no different than a repeater system owner that shuts down that system when the weather gets bad…People go without, and lose the ability to contact their workers or family, and the repeater system owner loses customers for shutting off the ability of his customers to communicate, thereby silencing his own revenue stream in the process! You can be your own, worst enemy, but you need to ‘SEE’ this before you can fix the problem, and this is where the problem resides, squarely on the shoulders of the service providers, not the end users!

  3. No. No. No. No. No.

    This isn’t valid evidence. There a million reasons why FiOS would have a shitty connection to AWS that aren’t malicious in intent.

    A front-line customer service rep wouldn’t have that information and surely wouldn’t repeat it so openly. Odds are its a clueless rep just trying to close out a ticket by telling the customer whatever is necessary to get them to end the chat.

    Why would Verizon throttle ALL of AWS, which serves tens of thousands of sites, many of them major having nothing to do with Netflix?

    Netflix doesn’t even stream video from AWS. It uses AWS for its website interface only. The actual streaming is done from dozens of peering points around the world. At worst, throttling AWS would make the website slow but have no effect whatsoever on the streaming quality. The list of peering locations is here: http://www.peeringdb.com/view.php?asn=2906&peerParticipantsPrivatesPage=1

    There are plenty of reasons to hate Verizon, but this isn’t one of them.

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