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Verizon Backs Off Slow Data Speed Plans After Backlash

Verizon Wireless has reversed its decision to slow some customers' data speeds, following backlash from consumers and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

Verizon Backs Off Slow Data Speed Plans After Backlash
Getty Images / Eric Thayer
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Remember when Verizon Wireless said it was going to slow down some of its customer's data speeds for "network optimization"? Yeah, it's decided not to do that.

The company announced in late July its plans to "ensure that all data customers ... have the best network experience" by slowing down speeds for the top 5 percent of 4G data users. Those plans were slated to take effect Wednesday. (Video via Verizon Wireless)

But Verizon's original announcement has been updated. It now says the company won't "move forward with the planned implementation of network optimization." 

The decision likely has a lot to do with customer backlash and a not-so-friendly letter from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. 

In Wheeler's letter, posted to Scribd by a writer for Vice, the chairman condemned Verizon for its announcement writing, "reasonable network management concerns the technical management of your network; it is not a loophole designed to enhance your revenue streams."

Now that Verizon has backed away from its plans, however, Wheeler's tone is much different. In response to the update Wheeler writes, "I salute Verizon Wireless's decision ... I commend Verizon's leadership."

And a writer for The Verge says government blowback probably isn't the only motivation. "The US wireless industry is suddenly experiencing a jumpstart in competition. ... The top three major carriers — Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint — have doubled the amount of data included with their shared plans."

Verizon would probably rather provide customers more data without stipulations rather than risk losing those customers to other carriers.