**Editor's Note: Which is America's top wireless network? Click here to see what we discovered.**
The most active Verizon Wireless customers might soon find their Internet in slo-mo.
The top 5 percent of users with “unlimited" plans on the carrier’s 4G/LTE network will soon get “throttled," meaning Big Red will slow down the speeds of those who consume the most data (more than 4.7GB per month). The move is part of Verizon’s extending its network optimization plan to its LTE network.
The throttling will impact those customers who are on contract and using data on a cell site that is experiencing “high demand." Since Verizon eliminated unlimited plans for new customers a while back, this will only impact those who are grandfathered in. Look for the change to go into effect on Oct. 1.
Demands on the network are increasing by leaps and bounds now that it is available to almost everyone in the U.S. Combine that with a saturation of smartphones and tablets, and you have some seriously busy cell sites.
“ … More interesting is the fine-grained nature of the network limits – per-customer, per-plan and per-cell-site on a congestion basis," noted 451 Research analyst Rich Karpinski, commenting specifically on an Engadget article. “If Verizon can do this, it can clearly apply such congestion management principles to just about any user. That gives it a powerful tool not only for congestion management but for network/service monetization as well. While today it is only talking about a very specific use case – limiting quite excessive bandwidth users – in the future, it opens many more alternatives. While the mainstream press will paint all of this negatively, no doubt, more intelligent network management ultimately delivers better service to more users and on a pay-for-what-you-want basis. It will be interesting to see how Verizon leverages these capabilities in the future for use cases such as bandwidth-reserved video delivery, time-of-day hot spot management, gold-plated corporate plans and more."
Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.