back to article Sprint: Net neutrality means we can't stamp out download hogs

Sprint says America's new net neutrality rules – which kicked in last week – have forced it to stop throttling download hogs' mobile broadband connections. Everything's fine, though, the US telco insists: it turns out this traffic strangling wasn't really needed in the first place. Sprint, the third-largest carrier in America …

  1. frank ly

    Pure BS

    Net Neutrality has nothing to do with data caps and throttling the speed for the heaviest users. Provided that the contract T&Cs clearly specify the conditions under which throttling will be applied, and those conditions are content-neutral and purely related to data quantity downloaded or uploaded by a customer, then they can throttle away - according to the published contractual T&Cs.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Pure BS

      But that means it's NOT "unlimited" (a rather clear and concise definition). IOW, NO data plan in America should be allowed to EVER use the word "Unlimited," as it AUTOMATICALLY amounts to False Advertising, in violation of federal law. Throttling of any kind, after all, is—by definition—a limit.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Pure BS

        Unlimited, eh?

        Oh noes, I emptied the interwebs!

      2. Anonymous Blowhard

        Re: Pure BS

        "Throttling of any kind, after all, is—by definition—a limit"

        By this definition, having a bandwidth of less than *infinity* is a limit, because if my bandwith is less than infinity, there is a limit to how much I can download in a given period.

        I can appreciate that people feel they want to get what they've paid for, but in a network of finite resources there has to be, at some times, a way of dividing up bandwith so that all users get some service rather than some users getting all the service.

        1. noominy.noom

          Re: Pure BS

          "By this definition, having a bandwidth of less than *infinity* is a limit, because if my bandwith is less than infinity, there is a limit to how much I can download in a given period."

          This is just hyperbole, This is not referring to a limit imposed by the provider. If I have a 10Mb connection, and routinely see 9Mb or better, then the provider decided they didn't like me for some reason and for early evening only allowed me 2Mb, that is an arbitrary limit. There reason for deciding they didn't like me would be irrelevant, but would likely be because I use an application provided by someone other than them and they would would rather I buy the application from them.

          "I can appreciate that people feel they want to get what they've paid for, but in a network of finite resources there has to be, at some times, a way of dividing up bandwith so that all users get some service rather than some users getting all the service."

          It is unethical to oversell, and should be illegal (and I think that applies to all appilcations, services etc., e.g. airplane seats.) There should be honesty and integrity in any transaction. If they have 2000 customers on a given segment and can't provide all of them the bandwidth they advertise, then that should be in the contract. If they told me they could only provide 10Mb for 1000 users and the rest of us only get 2Mb until the number of users drops, and they priced it accordingly, then fine. If they have three plans, 2Mb, 10Mb and 50Mb, with respectlively higher prices, and no mention of overselling, I would expect if I paid for the 50Mb I should get that or near it at all times.

        2. flyboymark

          Re: Pure BS

          The limits that are being discussed are administrative limits not hardware limits. ALL cell carriers are whores to the stock holders because they do not want to invest in backbone architecture. The expected return on investments today is "speculative stock appreciation" instead of dividends. As a result we now have a cell network that is ranked about 20th in the world. This scenario applies to a lot of other companies in this country also. This is a result of the tax structure in this country, so the loop hole is stock appreciation. The BOD is now pressured to "appreciate" the stock an absolute amount each quarter and damn the actual profits or customer satisfaction because dividends only pay a fraction of what the return is on "speculative stock appreciation".

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pure BS

        "NO data plan in America should be allowed to EVER use the word 'Unlimited,' as it AUTOMATICALLY amounts to False Advertising, in violation of federal law."

        I'd have to agree but regretfully that is why corporate lawyers invented the '*'.

        As in:

        "Our Unlimited* Plan allows you to surf the internet at high speeds"

        (in 4 point font)

        "* until we say otherwise or the sun rises in the morning, which ever comes first"

    2. Preston Munchensonton

      Re: Pure BS

      Net Neutrality has nothing to do with data caps and throttling the speed for the heaviest users.

      Net Neutrality, as written into regulation by the US FCC, has everything to do with congestion control. Contractual T&Cs have always had provisions that allow the carrier to manage traffic when required. No carrier would ever provide a network transport without having contingencies for congestion control. Until now.

      This is what all the whiners wanted so badly. So there's little use whining about it now.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Flame

    Translation

    Pay us more or the QoS gets it!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bu****it!

    "The FCC made the decision in a divided ruling with commissioner Ajit Pai filing an objection claiming the rulings are only being handed down retroactively and carriers could not take measures to avoid fines."

    Wrong. The rules weren't there in the first place because Webster's Dictionary defines unlimited as:

    adjective un·lim·it·ed \-ˈli-mə-təd\

    : without any limits or restrictions

    : not limited in number or amount

    Full Definition of UNLIMITED

    1: lacking any controls : unrestricted <unlimited access>

    2: boundless, infinite <unlimited possibilities>

    3: not bounded by exceptions : undefined <the unlimited and unconditional surrender of the enemy — Sir Winston Churchill>

    — un·lim·it·ed·ly adverb

    Examples of UNLIMITED

    Membership gives you unlimited access to the facilities.

    This ticket is good for unlimited travel on all trains.

    This plan allows you to make an unlimited number of phone calls to anywhere in the U.S.

    Her funds seem to be unlimited.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: Bu****it!

      Even then, it's not always that straight forward once marketing get involved

      This plan allows you to make an unlimited number of phone calls* to anywhere in the U.S.

      * of a duration of 5 seconds or less, calls exceeding 5 seconds will be charged at normal network rates

      Or

      * calls charged at normal network rate

      The problem with 'Unlimited' broadband is the same as the example above - they're taking a different interpretation of exactly which part is unlimited.

      They're not imposing a 'limit' on how much you're allowed to download that month, they're simply reducing the rate at which you can do so - obviously ignoring the effect the latter has on your abilities in respect of the former.

      The whole thing's a joke and has been since it's inception, but simply defining the word unlimited isn't enough, you've got to get them to admit which part of the sentence it relates to and any caveats that might impact the picture that marketing are trying to paint.

      TL:DR The ISPs who sell 'UNLIMITED' need more than a language lesson, sadly.

  4. Old Handle

    I think what they said is that it wasn't allowed because it wasn't necessary. Which might actually be close to the truth. I can't recall the exactly language or anything, but don't the new rules say something to the effect that traffic shaping necessary to ensure reliable service is OK? But if it wasn't really required, then it become suspect.

  5. John Geek

    I wish they'd just charge based on actual usage, and stop all this crap.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      But the reason they have to use the Unlimited term is because it's about the only way to attract jaded data-hungry customers. Flat-rate pricing is practically the only way to steal these kinds of customers. Well, that and raw metered rates in the past tended to be highway robbery.

  6. Nameless Faceless Computer User

    There would be no such thing as a "download hog" if they didn't over-sell bandwidth.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Unfortunately, over-selling is the ONLY way to get customers' attention. They're too jaded to be attracted to any honest advertising.

    2. Preston Munchensonton
      Megaphone

      There would be no such thing as a "download hog" if they didn't over-sell bandwidth.

      Precisely how should the mobile carrier prevent this? Limit the number of subscribers per cells? I'm sure that would make retards like you even more angry.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Well, the carriers COULD be FORCED to be blunt and put all their natural limitations in black and white. That way, the download hogs can see they'll be limited no matter where they turn and either pay up or pack up.

  7. cs94njw

    Of course, in the UK, the courts screwed us and acknowledge that "Unlimited" != "unlimited" :(

    1. david wilson

      >>"Of course, in the UK, the courts screwed us and acknowledge that "Unlimited" != "unlimited" :("

      Which pretty much anyone technically-savvy who had had a broadband connection for more than 5 minutes already knew was the case in practice.

      The word may be annoying, but it's not really misleading many people at any point in time, or causing people to make a disastrous choice when they could have done much better elsewhere.

      It's also not clear there's an obvious concise replacement for services where there's no absolute cap but where available data rates at any point in time are dependent on the usage of others.

      Possibly a phrase like 'no extra usage charges' would be useful, but then that implies some figure for things to be extra to.

      'Flat fee' goes some way to a description, but then nonunlimited packages also charge a flat fee as long as someone stays under their package's cap.

      It seems easier to have a word used with a 'wrong' meaning but one which is fairly clear and well-known in its particular context.

  8. PapaD

    That may be true, but if, for example, you are on the Virgin Media 150mb plan, they don't throttle.

    Even on some of the lower plans, the amount of data you need to be pulling down is pretty high before they even think about throttling

  9. Alan Denman

    OMG

    Seems to me most their customers are on a overpriced tariff.

    Everyone move!

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