One of the first tangible victories from the recent Net Neutrality ruling from the FCC is that Sprint will end its practice of throttling the bandwidth of unlimited data users. The new Net Neutrality rules specify that wireless companies be a lot more up front with users about their practices. As Sprint began a campaign for a new unlimited talk, text, and data plan, many people noticed a footnote that stated video speeds would be delivered at a slower speed. Throttling of video services was originally one of the chief complaints against internet service providers and wireless companies that led to the Net Neutrality showdown at the FCC.
The turn around from Sprint is one of the quickest changes in corporate policy seen in recent years. Sprint Chief Executive Marcelo Claure released a statement Tuesday, just hours after the launch of their new unlimited plan, stating that they heard consumers “loud and clear.”
Sprint claims it only throttles data speeds to keep network quality high enough to meet its customers needs. They pointed to research from an outside consultant that asserted they needed to keep speeds at or below 600 kilobytes a second to maintain optimal network performance.
That may be true, but I’m sure Sprint didn’t want to take any chances with the FCC, who recently levied a huge $100 million fine against AT&T for essentially doing the same thing to their users. Granted, the FCC found that AT&T acted in a much more underhanded manner than Sprint did when capping data speeds and throttling users. At least Sprint was upfront about their actions, albeit through a footnote.
The quickly reversed policy was clearly in violation of current FCC policy and would probably have led to a fine according to prominent legal experts. Score one for the good guys. Thank you, FCC, for keeping the big boys honest.