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Verizon: 'We're not throttling bandwidth except when we are'

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Verizon Wireless slipped out a policy on Thursday that kills unlimited data access for customers, just as the Canadian government was squashing a big-telco friendly policy that would sink its country's net neutrality.

Verizon – which recently slipped to number two among US wireless carriers – updated the terms and conditions of customers' contracts, giving itself the right to reduce data throughput.

In an "Important Information" document unearthed on Verizon's site by the Boy Genius Report, Verizon told users it may choke their bandwidth if they download an "extraordinary amount of data and fall within the top 5% of Verizon Wireless data users."

The capping will last for the remainder of a customer's current and next billing cycles, the document says.

Contacted by The Reg, a Verizon spokesperson did not clarify what "extraordinary" meant but did say the new Ts & Cs applied from Thursday morning.

He went on: "We're not going to begin throttling - but we're reserving the right to do so down the road to protect all customers' experience. We're the last of the largest four wireless companies to include this type of language in contracts."

Verizon claims over 94 million wireless subscribers, so 5 per cent means that just under five million people could get their downloads choked.

The new contract is available on the back of Verizon Wireless receipts, new customer contracts, at the point of sale in stores, and online.

Verizon is taking the step, it said, to save its bandwidth at peak times for "the other" 95 per cent of customers not pigging out on too much Netflix or Onion News Network.

"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 data consumption of just a few users," Verizon said

The carrier is reserving the right to cap as it prepares to roll out Apple's download luvvin' iPhone.

North of the border, meanwhile, Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement has Tweeted that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) must rethink a decision that will let bulk carriers charge small ISPs different rates for traffic on their networks.

Asked if it was true he'll overturn the decision, Clement responded: "True. CRTC must go back to the drawing board."

He has also been reported to have told the Canadian House of Commons that the CRTC's decision was "unacceptable" and he'd reverse it. "It is important to protect consumers, innovators and creators, as well as small and medium-sized businesses," he said.

Clement's statements follow a decision by the CRTC to let the parent company of Bell Canada charge wholesale service providers that are leasing space on its network a rate based on their usage. Around 360,000 Canadians are reported to have signed an online petition calling for the CRTC's decision to be overturned. ®

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