Verizon Cracks Down on Bandwidth Hogs

Verizon will throttle back bandwidth available to the biggest data hogs on its wireless network in what it calls an effort to keep up service quality for everybody else.

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While the change coincides with the company's preparation to launch what it expects to be an enormously popular iPhone service, the two are unrelated, according to a Verizon spokesperson.

Customers described as being in the top 5% of data users may have their usage cut immediately and for the following billing period if the company decides it needs to free up network capacity for the bulk of users that consume more modest amounts.

The change in policy is aimed at making customer service better overall in specific locations at peak usage times, the company says. "Our proactive management of the Verizon Wireless network is designed to ensure that the remaining 95% of data customers aren't negatively affected by the inordinate consumption of just a few users," Verizon says in a use-policy change notice for its customers.

Toward the same end, the company says it also will cache less data and size video in a manner that is appropriate to the devices requesting it -- both of which will help reduce drain on network resources.

Compression techniques Verizon plans to use may affect the appearance of files as they are displayed on the screens of wireless devices.

Video streaming will not be compressed, but image files will by, among other things, taking out unnecessary and unnoticeable bits, the company says.

For video files, the company will tune its buffers so it doesn't download an entire file all at once. Instead, it sends it as it is viewed to be there just in time. That reduces load on the network if the customer decides to bail out of a video without watching all of it, Verizon says.

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