Maybe Verizon spokesperson Bobbi Henson thought she was being reassuring, but her recent statement to CNET actually reads like more of a veiled threat. When asked about Verizon’s ongoing handling of illegal file sharing Henson said, “We've cut some people off. We do reserve the right to discontinue service. But we don't throttle bandwidth like Comcast was doing. Verizon does not have bandwidth caps.” Well, as long as they’re not throttling, right?
Verizon seems to have confirmed that multiple warnings for illegal file sharing could result in suspension of service. This policy is very similar to the one heavily favored by the recording industry. The RIAA originally announced their intention to work with ISPs in late 2008. The partnerships seemed not to have materialized, but this may be proof that Verizon has quietly fallen in line with the RIAA.
According to Verizon, the system works much as you’d expect. Content owners troll the p2p networks capturing IP addresses. They forward those along, and Verizon sends out infringement letters. No information was given to indicate how many infringement notices a customer will receive before being cut off. They did not give any information about what a customer can do if they feel they received a notice in error. Verizon claimed repeat offenses were rare, but are they just creating craftier, harder to catch file sharers?
Verizon is in the process of revamping its FiOS bundles. The new packages will include crazy fast 35Mbps symmetrical speeds. This is the sort of internet access that most of us can only dream of. There is, however, a catch. Verizon is also raising the early termination fee from $179 to $360. This mirrors the recent changes to Verizon’s wireless ETF that got the FCC a little upset.
The new “Prime” packages include the aforementioned speedy 35Mbps internet, phone, and TV with 125 HD channels for $140 per month after the promotional period. Bundles with 25Mbps symmetric and 15/5Mbps speeds are available for $125 and $110 per month respectively.
In some ways, the higher ETF makes more sense for FiOS than wireless. Installing fiber into a home is a pricey proposition, and laying all that fiber in the first place is expensive. This probably contributes to the relative scarcity of FiOS. Would you be able to look past the whopping ETF to get this sort of connection? If there’s FiOS in your area, consider yourself lucky that you even have the option.
We have a feeling this one's not going to go over very well, but according to reports, Verizon is seriously considering doubling up its early termination fee for its FiOS TV service. That would mean that customers who jump ship before their contract reaches port would have to cough up $360 instead of $179.
According to CNet, the new fee would apply to new customers who sign up for service on or after January 17. The termination fee would then apply to those customers who opt out early of their two-year service agreement. And if the reports prove correct, new customers will no longer be able to take advantage of Verizon's 15-day grace period, in which they could try the service out for 15 days and still cancel without any repercussion.
"We don't have anything to announce on this front right now," is the official response, as stated by a spokeswoman in an email to CNet.
This wouldn't be the first time Verizon jacked up its early termination fee by a large amount. Back in November 2009, Verizon Wireless announced it was increasing its $175 ETF to $350 for "advanced devices," which decreases by $10 for every month of service for the life of the contract. This drew the attention of the FCC, who is still investigating the telco's actions.
Verizon’s Chief Technology Officer, Dick Lynch, had some tough words for you heavy downloaders out there. He claimed that in the future, all internet access will be sold based on the amount of data a customer wants to consume. Lynch claims that so-called metered broadband is the only way forward. “We’re going to have to consider pricing structures that allow us to sell packages of bytes, and at the end of the day the concept of a flat-rate infinitely expandable service is unachievable,” said Lynch.
The Verizon CTO further explained that the model would likely be similar to the current model of wireless carriers, and not a specific price per gigabyte used. Verizon has previously decided against instituting caps on their FiOS service, but this could be an indication that all the uncapped internet goodness is about to end.
His statements were made as part of a larger discussion of Network Neutrality. Lynch specifically talked about the rise of high bandwidth applications and services. He said that some services “will not be happy on the public Internet.” Lynch speculated some other method of delivery for these services may be needed.
We’re used to hearing the outcry when a broadband provider tries to institute caps. Does the Internet-using population have the stomach for metered access? Let us know in the comments.
If you happen to be in one of the 16 U.S. states (and possible 10 million mostly suburban homes) where Verizon provides their fiber optic FiOS service, data will soon be moving at 50 megabits per second downstream and 20 mb/s upstream -- up from its former 30/15). Verizon Chief Operating Officer Denny Strigl says the 100-megabit home , will be a reality faster than anybody thinks.
If right about now, you're starting to feel a little green, like one of those Slowsky turtles with DSL of 1.5 mb/s or something even slower (yikes!), you might feel surprised to learn that 100 mb/sec consumer broadband is already common in Sweeden, Denmark, Japan and elsewhere in the world.