Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Verizon Limits Its "Unlimited" Wireless Broadband Service

Verizon Limits Its "Unlimited" Wireless Broadband Service
By Joseph S. Enoch
July 25, 2006

Verizon Wireless proudly boasts that its wireless "BroadbandAccess" service is "unlimited." But Verizon's definition of unlimited may not match consumers' expectations, as those who use the service extensively quickly learn.

The service uses a fairly recent technology called EV-DO that allows users to access the Internet at high speeds from their laptops, just about anywhere in most major U.S. cities and in many suburban areas. Verizon calls this service "broadband" because it has average download speeds of 400-700 kilobytes per second.

But when consumers use this service like they would any other broadband connection, Verizon cancels the account. ConsumerAffairs.Com discovered this when Verizon, with very little warning, cancelled our account.

"We … found that your usage over the past 30 days exceeded 10 Gigabytes. … This level of usage is so extraordinarily high that it could only have been attained by activities, such as streaming and/or downloading movies and video, prohibited by the terms and conditions," Verizon said in a terse letter.

With the advent of websites such as YouTube, and Google Video, streaming video and even, watching sports online, has become a common practice for many people who pay extra money for that lightning fast broadband connection. Verizon's "unlimited" wireless broadband is hardly cheap. It's $79.99 per month if you don't have a Verizon Wireless cell phone account, $59.95 per month if you do, roughly twice as much as a residential DSL or cable Internet account.

Verizon's terms and conditions hardly go out of their way to explain the limits on the company's "unlimited broadband access." Only once in the 20-page terms and conditions brochure, is the restriction explained, and then it is sunk in the final page in a sea of small font.

Under the heading, "Unlimited NationalAccess/Broadband Access," the brochure states, "… data sessions may be used with wireless devices for the following purposes: (i) Internet browsing; (ii) email; and (iii) intranet access. … services cannot be used: (1) for uploading, downloading or streaming of movies, music or games; (2) with server devices or with host computer applications, including, but not limited to, Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, Voice over IP (VoIP), automated machine-to-machine connections, or peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing."

Unlimited in Some Ways
Jeffrey Nelson, Verizon Wireless spokesman, said that calling the service, "unlimited" is not misleading.

"It's very clear in all the legal materials we put out," he said. "It's unlimited amounts of data for certain types of data," he said.

The letter from Verizon said that the cancelled ConsumerAffairs.Com account downloaded and uploaded 10 gigabytes in the preceding 30 days. However, as is shown on the access log that is an integral part of the program, we actually tallied less than 2 gigabytes over more than a year's use.

The letter also said our "10 Gigabytes" in 30 days was, "more than 40 times that of a typical user." That would mean the "typical user" only downloads about 8.3 megabytes per day - good for less than 12 seconds of constant downloading at the service's average speed.

With Shockwave, Java and other interactive Internet applications, 8.3 megabytes is a paltry sum for the savvy web browser or businessperson. Throw in a few "broadband" activities such as iTunes, and 8.3 megabytes will get a user nowhere.

A second ConsumerAffairs.Com Verizon Wireless Broadband account, which is generally used only for business travel, averaged well over 8.3 megabytes for connections longer than an hour, often sending and receiving more than 10 megabytes, but at least so far, it has not incurred Verizon's wrath.

Nelson said the service, which Verizon introduced in Fall 2003, can be hindered if one person downloads too much.

"The wireless spectrum is a limited and finite service," he said.

Nelson would not say how many wireless broadband customers Verizon has but said only "a minute fraction" of customers have been removed.

Verizon sucks.

Verizon's Definition of 'Unlimited Use'

This is concerning my Verizon PC5740 laptop Broadband Access card/contract:

Unlimited NationalAccess/BroadbandAccess:

Subject to VZAccess Acceptable Use Policy, available on

NationalAccess and BroadbandAccess data sessions may be used with wireless devices for the following purposes: (i) Internet browsing; (ii) email; and (iii) intranet access (including access to corporate intranets, email and individual productivity applications like customer relationship management, sales force and field service automation).

Unlimited NationalAccess/BroadbandAccess services cannot be used (1) for uploading, downloading or streaming of movies, music or games, (2) with server devices or with host computer applications, including, but not limited to, Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, Voice over IP (VoIP), automated machine-to-machine connections, or peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, or (3) as a substitute or backup for private lines or dedicated data connections.

NationalAccess/BroadbandAccess is for individual use only and is not for resale. We reserve right to limit throughput or amount of data transferred, deny or terminate service, without notice, to anyone we believe is using NationalAccess or BroadbandAccess in any manner prohibited above or whose usage adversely impacts our network or service levels. Verizon Wireless reserves the right to protect its network from harm, which may impact legitimate data flows. We also reserve the right to terminate service upon expiration of Customer Agreement term.

Dated 07/13/06 from

Verizon Lies Concerning 'Unlimited' Wireless Broadband Use for PC Cards

Tech Dirt: Verizon Lies

Limited Unlimited Doubletalk: Verizon Unlimited Data For Limited Types Of Data
from the got-that? dept

The story of bogus "unlimited" services, especially from Verizon Wireless who has been offering extremely limited EVDO wireless service which they advertise as "unlimited," isn't new at all. For quite some time, we've been wondering why no one has gone after them for false advertising. Still, the execs at Verizon Wireless keep trying to talk their way out of the fact that they kick people off the network if they use more than 10 gigs a month of service (that's a limit, right?) even if that number isn't listed in any marketing or legal material. Recently, a Verizon Wireless exec tried to brush off the issue by claiming (falsely) that they could kick people off, but didn't. Considering how many times we've seen complaints from people suddenly cut off by Verizon Wireless, that seems to be an outright lie.

Now, Broadband Reports notes that Consumer Affairs has noticed this issue as well (someone there was cut off with no warning). They went to Verizon Wireless and got some amazing executive doublespeak in response. A spokesperson claimed: "It's very clear in all the legal materials we put out." Right. See, it's not at all clear in the marketing material that they use to actually sell the service to you. There, it says "Unlimited" in big letters. It's only in the fine print of the legalese that no one reads that they let you know you can't really use the service for very much. Then comes my favorite line: "It's unlimited amounts of data for certain types of data." Ah, it's unlimited for limited kinds of data. How could anyone possibly be confused? Of course, even that's false. They're cutting off anyone with over 10gigs of data -- no matter what kind of data it is -- by claiming the only way you could possibly use 10gigs in a month is to use prohibited types of data. Either way, for those who keep claiming that things like EVDO are a true alternative to DSL, it seems Verizon Wireless' continuing effort to doublespeak their way around this issue suggests otherwise.

Verizon Sucks.

Verizon Sucks Big Time

Recently got a wireless card from Verizon for my pc. The guy at the store told me UNLIMITED BROADBAND access.

THIS IS A LIE. Verizon just disconnected me for downloading podcasts from iTunes.

They say 'video streaming' is not allowed. How is downloading podcasts of news and NPR radio shows 'video streaming?'

Verizon Sucks. Verizon Sucks. Verizon Sucks. Verizon Sucks.

I just switched over from ATT to Verizon for my cell phone. It works fine and even bought one for my sister. Thought I'd switch from T-Mobile to Verizon Broadband for my PC.

Verizon Sucks. They say that I can only 'surf' the internet and check email. No downloading or uploading. I had no clue that downloading would not be covered. READ YOUR CONTRACTS. Especially if you want to use a iPod or MP3 player with their wireless pc cards.

Verizon Sucks.