Verizon Picks The Worst Possible Person To Try To Bullshit Into Unnecessary Upgrade

from the smooth-move-exlax dept

It's no secret that ISP support reps will consistently tell you whatever you'd like to hear when trying to sell you on more expensive packages, even if the claims are miles from reality. Sometimes that's just a support rep going rogue to meet numbers and try to make a sale, and sometimes it's part of a consistent, scripted effort to mislead the consumer. Frost and Sullivan analyst Dan Rayburn says he ran into the latter recently when he called to renegotiate his FiOS triple play bundle rate with the telco, and was informed, repeatedly, that he needed to upgrade his speed from 50 Mbps to 75 Mbps if he wanted Netflix to stream properly.

That wasn't the brightest move on Verizon's part, since Rayburn covers the streaming video sector for a living. Rayburn was quick to highlight that Ookla data shows that the average bitrate delivered to a Verizon customer last month was around 3.5 Mbps. Even in a household full of streaming video fanatics, there's really not much that 75 Mbps will provide that 50 Mbps won't. And while Rayburn warns that uninformed users can easily fall into Verizon's trap, it should only take the average consumer about five minutes of Google use to avoid this pitfall.

Netflix's website informs users the company's standard definition streaming service eats about 1 GB of data per hour per stream of standard def video, and Netflix recommends roughly 3 Mbps for standard def content. High definition video meanwhile consumes around 3 GB per hour, per stream, with Netflix recommending 5 Mbps for HD video. Even if you're part of the tiny number of people with a 4K set looking to stream Ultra HD, you'll only need a connection of around 25 Mbps, according to Netflix. Of course this requires the average consumer to know what a gigabyte is, which is no safe bet.

Rayburn proceeds to document that this wasn't just a one-off situation, but that Verizon lied about his need for 75 Mbps to obtain "smoother" Netflix streaming numerous times:
"While some might want to chalk this us to an isolated incident, or an over zealous sales rep, that’s not the case at all. I called in three times and spoke to three different reps, plus one online and got the same pitch. Clearly this sales tactic is being driven by those higher up in the company and isn’t something a sales rep made up on their own. And two years ago, Verizon tried to pitch me the exact same story, promising better quality Netflix streaming if I upgraded my Internet package."
The biggest irony here, unmentioned by Rayburn, is that he's consistently been one of only a few analysts on Verizon's side during the company's recent interconnection scuffle with Netflix, blaming Netflix, not giant ISPs, for most of the congestion issues that magically started popping up over the last year or so as ISPs like Verizon started pushing Netflix for direct interconnection fees. In other words, Verizon not only tried to bullshit someone who spends their life discussing streaming issues, but it managed to annoy one of the company's few allies on the net neutrality and interconnection front. That's quite a double play.
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Filed Under: bandwidth, dan rayburn, upgrades
Companies: netflix, verizon


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 6:03am

    I was amused when these sales people called from my Cable company (which included my internet connection at the time) or from my mobile carriers. When they offered 'promotions' and 'cost savings' I always asked "By how much are you lowering the price then?" and from that point onwards the thing simply derailed.

    Our consumer protection agency (PROCON) started a service where you can opt-in to have your line blocked for telemarketing and the companies that do not respect it are fined. My phones have been pleasantly silent since then.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ckm8kng2, 8 May 2015 @ 6:49am

    Maybe the complete chat log isnt being shown and has some other incriminating text in it but.......from what is shown I dont see that Verizon rep (Robert)did anything wrong or "lied" The Verizon rep states, if you have more bandwith then your streaming will improve, is this true? Yes.
    He is then asked if 50mbps is enough and he admits that 50mbps is indeed enough. So when did the lies happen? Also if there is other parts of the chat log why would you post this part. If this is the most incriminating part of the log you could post,and I assume it is because why would you not post the most incriminating part,then Verizon didnt do anything wrong and this article is blown way out of proportion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 7:10am

      Re:

      Their only goal is to mislead consumers. They don't have to lie about that. "Smoother" is not exactly a concrete term.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2015 @ 7:42am

        Re: Re:

        Neither is "faster".

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Karl Bode (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 8:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Faster (10 Mbps versus 50 Mbps) seems relatively concrete to me. Smoother is ambiguous. Besides, the user already noted they had smooth Netflix playback using multiple devices in the home on 50 Mbps.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        DogBreath, 8 May 2015 @ 9:37am

        Re: Re:

        239. Never be afraid to mislabel a product.

        --Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          You are being watched (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 11:59am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'm seriously thinking that all the big companies of the world really are following the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition.

          I wonder how Star Trek fans feel about that?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 12:11pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I assumed that the writers came up with the Rules of Acquisition by observing the behavior of major corporations in the first place.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              You are being watched (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 12:44pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              If they did, they did. If not, oh well. But the thought is still to hilarious:

              Star Trek: Deep Space Blog

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              James Burkhardt (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 12:48pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Specifically, they were initially supposed to emulate the practices of the old large, monopolistic mercantile companies. We've just been backing back into that situation.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 7:47am

      Re:

      "The Verizon rep states, if you have more bandwith then your streaming will improve, is this true? Yes."

      Once you have enough bandwidth that Netflix isn't reducing quality to conserve it, adding more won't improve your the streaming. The jump form 50 to 75mps won't do what the sales rep said: it won't make things "smoother". That's the lie.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2015 @ 8:02am

      Re:

      Did you actually read the chatlog? Here's the text with comments added.

      Dan Rayburn: they told me if i go from 50 mbps to 75 mpbs i will get better netflix streaming. is that true?
      Robert: Yes it you have more bandwidth you will have smoother video viewing.
      COMMENT: Looks like Robert is lying right there, or he's simply not answering Dan's question, but is attempting to look as if he's answering the question. Going from 50 mpbs to 75 mpbs won't improve Dan's netflix streaming since 50 mbps is well above the netflix requirements. So there's one lie.

      Dan Rayburn: but isnt 50 mbps already enough?
      Robert: yes it is enough. 75 will just be smoother
      COMMENT: Dan attempts to confirm that Robert actually understands the original question by pointing out his current speed of 50 mbps and Robert responds with an outright lie. 50 mbps is already at least 10 times faster than netflix's requirement and Robert has the gall to claim that going to 75mbps will make the streaming smoother. So for the two responses I see from Robert... BOTH of them are lies.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 8:03am

      Re:

      I've read about some penis enlargement pills. Your current size is enough but with them it will be smoother.

      You see, increasing the bandwidth does absolutely nothing in that case so the rep is lying when he/she says it's gonna make things smoother.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2015 @ 10:00am

      Re:

      I could see how it could be smoother if multiple people were using the Internet at the same time. Say you had two people streaming video while one person was browsing the Internet and Facebook (quickly scrolling through a bunch of high quality images) on his tablet while streaming online music and another was playing online games while downloading large files. In this situation I can see how a faster connection could lead to smoother streaming. Also if you are watching the same video all the way through vs jumping from video to video, pausing the video, doing a lot of fast forwarding and rewinding, etc... under certain conditions, depending on how the streaming service works, a faster internet connection could provide you with a smoother experience.

      [I remember Youtube at one time used to buffer videos from beginning to end the moment you opened them and you used to be able to jump from one portion of the video to any other without losing previously buffered sections. It seems like they removed that feature for most videos now. Not sure if Youtube, Flash player, or HTML5 (depending on the video) is to blame or if it's something in the settings (though I tried messing with those but couldn't fix it). Perhaps it's just a way to allow Youtube or Flash to better track what parts of a video customers tend to watch but it sure is a waste of bandwidth to delete previously buffered video just because someone jumped from one portion of a video to another. That means every time they want to move around those video sections need to be re-downloaded.]

      That's the thing about qualitative marketing terms. "Smoother" is a qualitative property (though it can be quantified more finely if you begin to account for various other factors, conditions, and demands) and can also depend on various conditions.

      Doesn't Mike always argue that people will find uses for faster Internet connections and that's why ISPs always need to upgrade.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2015 @ 10:03am

        Re: Re:

        (and lets throw in some possible Microsoft Windows and Android and iOS app and operating system updates in the mix, as an even more extreme example).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        James Burkhardt (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 10:32am

        Re: Re:

        Again, another commentator ignores the specifics of the consumer in question to say that, in some hypothetical situation, smoother might apply, so we can say to any consumer that their stream will universally be smoother if they upgrade. Ignoring that, in this case, the consumer has told us that in his most active he does not cap out his service, I guess I can see how this might be true. But no qualitative property (which I assume refers to properties which indicate quality of service) would improve by the 'remedy' suggested by the service rep (increasing bandwidth). So I fail to see how defining 'smoother' as a 'qualitative marking term' changes the acceptability of its use. I think what you wanted to say is that smoother is subjective, and therefore a meaningless marketing term, but given it is used in conjunction with a "Yes" to the question of whether or not service would improve, it is clearly meant as a meaningful indicator, and ignoring it, the rep clearly confirmed 'better netflix streaming'.

        Mike argues that if ISPs provide faster connections with higher caps people will make applications and services that take advantage of that connection, and that imposing data caps or speed limits because no one is using that ability right now (or justifying caps by saying few users risk approaching their caps) prevents the innovations that would make use of that connection. Not that the random user will always need or use that higher level of service. Neither the TD article or Dan are arguing that you might not need or want 75mbps, just that going from 50mbps per second to 75mbps wouldn't result in the across the board improvement in streaming quality that is being sold by the Verizon reps.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2015 @ 2:15pm

      Re:

      he lied when he said the streaming at 75mbps would be smoother than 50mbps.

      It's only true if Verizon is violating Net Neutrality behind the scenes and maliciously stuttering the 50mbps connection to make Netflix have issues.

      So, my question to you, Mr Verizon Shill (for that is what you painfully obviously are!) is...are Verizon stuttering their 50mbps customers to try to illegally squeeze more money out of them?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Shane, 8 May 2015 @ 3:26pm

      Re:

      "if you have more bandwith (sic) then your streaming will improve, is this true?" No. You obviously don't understand how video streaming works. The chat logs are showing that the rep on the phone and the rep online are attempting to feed consumers the same lie: that upgrading your Verizon package will make Netflix work better.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Dustin, 8 May 2015 @ 4:33pm

      Re:

      Actually, that's not true. Having 50mbps vs 75mbps isn't going to make a bit of difference when the data being pushed to you only requires 5mbps to download. I'm willing to bet that Netflix has caps on their servers that only allow a single user to use so much bandwidth, meaning that he's probably not even able to use his full 50mbps when streaming from Netflix.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      SH, 9 May 2015 @ 10:05am

      Re:

      Wrong. you need to go back and redo networking 101.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 7:02am

    Overblown

    I'm usually among the last to defend VZ, but this is overblown.

    More bandwidth is better, all else being equal.

    Whether streaming will be "smoother" or not depends on what else is running on the connection - in some cases (admittedly not many), 75 Mbps will indeed be smoother than 50 Mbps.

    But if the customer already has 50 Mbps and streaming video isn't smooth, it's reasonably possible they're one of the few who actually need more.

    Yes, it's an exaggeration. But I just bought a new car last week - compared to the whoppers car dealers tell, VZ is not bad.

    [BTW, knowing how much a "gigabyte" is won't help much here - data rates are measured in bits/second, not bytes/second.]

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2015 @ 8:03am

      Re: Overblown

      Maybe, but it is a sleazy sales tactic used towards customers to pay higher costs. The roommates and I can do 4 streams of netflix on a single 50Mbps and it will be fine. I see it as the same thing that JiffyLube does to its customers. Saying this or that needs replaced just to get them to pay more since the majority of their clients won't know any better.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 10:31am

        Jiffylube pads their bills?

        What, then, differentiates Jiffylube -- what is supposed to be a franchise that carries with it a minimum standard of quality -- from your local garage mechanic?

        I take Jiffylube mechanics are also prepared to deal with the 1950s style consequences of his questionable behavior, that is a back alley beatdown by the disgruntled customer and five of his streetgang friends, armed with Louisville Sluggers.

        Maybe they use aluminum bats these days.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 10:41am

          Re: Jiffylube pads their bills?

          "What, then, differentiates Jiffylube -- what is supposed to be a franchise that carries with it a minimum standard of quality -- from your local garage mechanic?"

          Your local mechanic will probably do a better job, and is MUCH less likely to use sleazy sales tactics to get you to buy stuff that you don't need.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        James Burkhardt (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 10:45am

        Re: Re: Overblown

        I have no doubt some unscrupulous jiffy lube managers will push their employees to sell unnecessary replacements (the employees don't care, they don't get commisson) However, all of the jiffy lubes I go to make replacement recommendations based on previous service and manufacturer recommended replacement schedules. Now certainly, if you haven't performed maintenance at Jiffy Lube, they can't know you've already had that maintenance performed. But overall, I find them quite effective.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 10:51am

          Re: Re: Re: Overblown

          We have wildly different experiences with Jiffy lube, then! Which is fair enough, I suppose. Perhaps there's just something wrong with the Jiffy Lubes in my part of the country. But around here, they're widely known for being overpriced and borderline scammy.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            James Burkhardt (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 12:02pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Overblown

            Oh overpriced I would believe. Basic service is pretty cheap, but the up-charges can certainly be overpriced. I pay for the convenience of not having to do it myself, and getting it done immediately, compared to the mechanic I trust, who never has the spare time to do an oil change on the spot. And as I said, I have no doubt some unscrupulous jiffy lube managers will push their employees to sell unnecessary replacements. But so will some unscrupulous mechanics (its a sterotype for a reason). In CA, unnecessary sales by repair shops is why a repair shop can't perform smog testing, you have to go to an independent testing station that can't perform repairs so they wont have a stake in whether you pass or fail.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2015 @ 2:17pm

        Re: Re: Overblown

        What differentiates Verizon from Jiffylube, is that Jiffylube sounds like a form of sex lubricant, and Verizon is quite prepared to go in dry and fuck you for every dollar they can get.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2015 @ 8:10am

      Re: Overblown

      Unfortunately, this is incorrect. If someone is truly receiving 50 Mbps (far more than required for HD streaming), going higher than that is not going to improve smoothness of the picture. It would merely make the buffer for the video fill faster. Streaming video is not a situation where you receive the picture the moment it is displayed. I could do the math to figure out how big 1 second of HD video is and that would be your required rate for download speeds, but I'm a bit lazy this morning. Anything above that would merely fill the buffer faster than it is being consumed and not provide a 'smoother' picture.

      In this case I suspect that the last mile infrastructure is piss poor as is with most major ISPs. The user is paying for up to 50 Mbps, when in reality they are receiving less than 10 because their last mile hardware is overloaded. To be honest I wish Title 2 classification could impose requirements on last mile infrastructure to have capacity for at least 80% of total promised bandwidth to consumers connected to it so that this kind of thing wouldn't happen, but I won't hold my breath.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        James Burkhardt (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 8:32am

        Re: Re: Overblown

        To be honest, OldMugwump is talking about a situation in which you are doing enough on your connection that you filled up that 50mbps connection and more bandwidth would actually improve your ability to additionally stream a movie.

        Also, Dan noted that he wasn't having problems with streaming quality. And he recently had streamed 10 simultaneous streams of GoT and got clear streaming on all of them, capping out at 29 mbps. So no, last mile improvements wouldn't have affected this call.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2015 @ 9:32am

          Re: Re: Re: Overblown

          Agreed, last mile improvements may not have improved his experience, but that entirely depends on who was using that last mile while he was streaming GoT with 10 simultaneous streams. (Maybe he's in a neighborhood where everyone hates GoT so everyone was reading a book... eh who are we kidding.)

          Let's be honest though, increasing his connection speed wouldn't have improved much of anything here assuming he was getting 50 Mbps and un-throttled traffic from Netflix.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            James Burkhardt (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 9:51am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Overblown

            Oh no, I fully agree with that upgrades to connection speed wouldn't have improved this situation (I also commented against OldMugwump). I should be clear though, last mile network congestion (as opposed to interconnection congestion) is not a significant problem on fiber networks (Dan is on Verison FIOS) like it was on DSL. In a test by the FCC, subscribers of fiber networks generally recieved at least 90% of advertised speeds. DSL customers...not so much. http://www.cnet.com/news/dsl-subscribers-more-likely-to-get-cheated-on-broadband/ It might not be entirely consistent, but I find it unlikely that congestion (or as you put it, overloaded access points) is the key reason.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 8:25am

      Re: Overblown

      But the rep isn't saying 'in some cases' 75 Mbps will be smoother, but that, as a blanket statement, you will get better netflix streaming quality with a 75mbps connection. This is, based on the multiple experiences of Dan Rayburn over several years, a standard sales tactic for Verizon. As Dan points out:
      It’s simply a bad sales practice that’s disingenuous, plays on consumers desire to want better quality video streaming and is only being done to improve Verizon’s bottom line. The average customer gets no improved service in return and false expectations are being set, which is bad for the streaming media industry and over-the-top content providers, not to mention consumers.
      Now if the customer complained of poor video quality and/or the rep looks at usage and sees them coming close to their cap, this could be a reasonable pitch. But pitching this to everyone is disingenuous.

      I love your claim at the end. "Well car dealers tell bigger lies so we can just ignore the ones Verison tells". If that was a legal test it throws out an entire body of tort law around lying as a sales tactic.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 8:40am

      Re: Overblown

      "But if the customer already has 50 Mbps and streaming video isn't smooth, it's reasonably possible they're one of the few who actually need more.">


      As Rayburn notes, he already had smooth performance, so he wasn't over-saturating the line. I get your point, but it doesn't apply here. I agree it's not the worst of Verizon's nonsensical claims ever seen on this green earth, the amusing part is they were trying to bullshit the very last person who'd fall for it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      minijedimaster (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 9:53am

      Re: Overblown

      This is simply not how networking works. At all. If someone in your home is streaming video at say 5Mb/s... and someone else gets on and tells say their Steam client to download a 15GB game... that Steam download will use up every available Mb of bandwidth available it can. Guess what happens to the video stream of the first person? That's right, stutters and stops.

      If you increase your bandwidth from 50 to 75Mb it will not help this problem. It would only make the game download go a little faster.

      In order to prevent this from happening you have to take other measures on the network, such as throttling the Steam client to use less bandwidth than the full amount you have available. Or configuring Quality of Service to prioritize specific packets.

      So increasing your internet bandwidth will not, in of itself, in any case ever, make your netflix streaming "smoother". Unless your max bandwidth to start was something very low like 1Mb.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2015 @ 10:14am

        Re: Re: Overblown

        "If you increase your bandwidth from 50 to 75Mb it will not help this problem. It would only make the game download go a little faster. "

        In my experience this is not true. A faster internet connection tends to result in a smoother experience for everyone all other things equal.

        In some circumstances the game server limits its upload bandwidth. If the server's max upload bandwidth is 50 Mb/sec then a faster Internet connection would not result in more bandwidth being allocated to the downloader and that excess bandwidth can be used for streaming. But even if the upload server can handle higher speeds I still find that faster download bandwidth speeds result in a smoother experience for everyone all other things constant. It all depends on how your network equipment allocates the bandwidth but if you have more bandwidth the network has more bandwidth to allocate to each user.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          minijedimaster (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 11:32am

          Re: Re: Re: Overblown

          Well in my experience, 18 years as a network engineer, you simply don't know what you're talking about. Network equipment doesn't just magically "allocate the bandwidth". It gives you everything it can 100% of the time, unless you tell it otherwise. And of course being able to tell it otherwise requires network equipment that has the manageability to do so. That simply isn't the case with the vast majority of consumer network equipment.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            OldMugwump (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 11:56am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Overblown

            It depends what the other streams on the users network are doing. If it's unthrottled FTP, you're right.

            If it's other video or audio streams (with finite maximum bitrates), then you're mistaken.

            All I'm saying is that there are cases (admittedly, few) where more bandwidth - even if you already have 50 Mbps - will indeed make Netflix stream better.

            So I don't think it's unreasonable for VZ to train their low-level support people to suggest more bandwidth when customers say Netflix isn't streaming smoothly.

            Yes, it can be (and probably is often) abused in a sleazy way.

            But compared to the way VZ and others scheme and sleaze, this is so minor as to be almost acceptable. "Overblown."

            [BTW, I've been doing network engineering since 1978.]

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              James Burkhardt (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 12:11pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Overblown

              And you've failed to respond to the number of commentators who highlighted that this customer has no streaming problems and the majority of consumers won't have streaming problems on 50mbps. And if they are having streaming problems, jumping to more bandwidth being the solution isn't necessarily going to solve the problem. Given that they tried to sell the upgrade without him complaining by selling a better streaming experience, it is quite reasonable to jump to the conclusion that they make this offer no matter if it will help or not. Which means they quite possibly could ignore in-home bandwidth problems (due to a low quality router or poor signal or other reasons), general network conditions for the customer, and whether or not the interconnection points are saturated when the problems are presented to them, instead selling higher bandwidth.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                OldMugwump (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 12:26pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Overblown

                Agreed.

                I just don't think it rises to the level of reproach it's getting.

                We may not like it, but _most_ businesses do this kind of upselling.

                I personally think it's unethical, and we don't do it in my company.

                But it's not exceptional.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  James Burkhardt (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 12:59pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Overblown

                  So your point is that, because everyone does it, we should ignore it and let it happen? We shouldn't ever call for better actions by those we have to deal with? That we should not name and shame those companies who perform deceptive sales tactics? Perhaps your response to a riot is "Eh. Id complain that people are ruining my house, but the whole neighborhoods in on it so I guess its ok?"

                  I guess I fail to see how unethical business practices fail to be newsworthy when evidence of the lack of ethics is exposed. But I guess in this day and age the only thing that we are allowed to talk and complain about are things that haven't been done. I mean, who would ever complain about unfair and unethical treatment thats been going on for years? (I mean aside from a ton of countries that are throwing out their dictators and the scraps we get out of china)

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  techflaws (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 10:16pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Overblown

                  Way to move the goalposts.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2015 @ 1:50pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Overblown

            I think it can depend on the router as well. I used to notice that older routers were much more likely to allow one user to hog all the bandwidth at the expense of everyone else but with relatively newer routers, even consumer routers, this is a lot less likely.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 8:19pm

              Routers that allow hogging.

              Most routers these days allow for data to be prioritized based on rules. At my home I am the data hog when I want to be because I get top priority (privilege for paying the entire bill). Though that's because I game, which needs less but more consistent throughput than streaming.

              If I wanted to, I could reserve specific ports for high-priority data, so that any gaming would take priority over streaming or downloading. But that's a lot of work.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2016 @ 10:10pm

      Re: Overblown

      You're a fucking arrogant moron.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    HMTKSteve, 8 May 2015 @ 7:07am

    gigabit?

    So... Is gigabit needed or not? Is 6mbps 'fast enough' for the average user or not?

    I keep seeing articles blasting the ISPs for not rolling out gigabit service yet here we have VZ trying to sell faster service and they shouldn't?

    Mixed messages...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 8:41am

      Re: gigabit?

      You understand that wanting ISPs to deploy ultra-fast networks, and not wanting ISPs to try and bullshit-upsell you to unnecessary speeds for your specific usage, are two entirely different conversations, yes?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 9:36am

      Re: gigabit?

      The articles blasting ISPs for not rolling out gigabit networks often refer to either A) the ISP's advertising that rollout and not fulfilling that promise B) Refusing to service areas without broadband (and if your gonna build a braodband network, you should build the best broadband network to insulate against future developments in usage), or C) Actually having gigabit networks installed but not offering them to customers. I.E. sudden 'free upgrades' in speed when google fiber or muni broadband come to town. None of this has to do with what is fast enough for customers at this point, and often is written with forward thinking in mind.

      And nothing in this article suggests you only need 6mbps per second for the average user. Where do you get that value from? The article is a user with 50 mbps (nearly 9 times the value you use) saying 75 mbps wouldn't improve his usage or the average users right now. where does 6 mbps come in?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 8:23pm

      Gigabit will allow several streams, or for one person to download big data fast.

      So when you purchase a 100 gigabyte game, you'll be playing in minutes rather than hours.

      In fact, with gigabit, it may be easier to just pre-load movies rather than stream them, since that requires a burst of bandwidth rather than prolonged use, and allows for better compression.

      A well-compressed 1080p movie would be ~4-6GB. About enough time to make popcorn.

      So yeah gigabit is awesome not because it lets you stream better, but because it gives you alternatives to streaming at all.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 8:27pm

        Re: Gigabit will allow several streams, or for one person to download big data fast.

        Correction

        A 20 gigabyte game (typical for AAA games these days) would come in in less than an hour.

        A 100 gigabyte game (over what even the biggest games currently take) would take about two hours, rather than days.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2015 @ 8:10am

    Back in ye olden 90s I had an argument on usenet with a person who claimed that bandwidth had a relationship with latency. He claimed that cable was better than DSL because it had (at the time) higher bandwidth capacity and that meant lower latency (ping times). And that dialup had the worse latency because it had the lowest bandwidth. I explained that while certainly latency is going to be affected by the technology used, bandwidth had nothing to do with that. I think people talk about "faster speeds" he assumed that it meant that the data actually flowed faster. Some people just don't understand technology I guess.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2015 @ 8:31am

    If Verizon supplied electricity...

    ... so you're saying that if I switch to a 220 line, my VCR will work smoother?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    avideogameplayer, 8 May 2015 @ 8:35am

    Mechanic to Homer Simpson: 'These tires won't take a balance...'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2015 @ 9:15am

    A bigger sin

    A couple of weeks ago I saw when logged in to my Fios account that downgrading from 50/50 to 25/25 would save me 10.00/mo. Today I checked again, to learn that 'modifying' my service by keeping the 50/50 (ie selecting the option I already have but adding it to the cart) would cost me an extra 5.00/mo and the option to drop to 25/25 has vanished. So if I inadvertantly upgraded my service to what it already is then I would pay more. Dear Verizon, thanks but no. (This makes me suspect they are about to raise all prices and just haven't told me yet. My only other option above 20 MB would be TW at 100/5. Sigh.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 9:17am

      Re: A bigger sin

      They've pretty relentlessly raised rates on me since signing up. And whereas I used to be able to call in and negotiate better deals, in recent months they've basically told me "no, sorry" when asked if I can get a better rate.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Yes, I know I'm commenting anonymously, 8 May 2015 @ 10:39am

    Or, we now know by how much Verizon inflates their internet speeds... a factor of 25.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    z! (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 11:47am

    The word missing in the discussion here is jitter. If you need 3mbps to deliver SD video (which is horribly compressed at that rate), that's all you need provided the packets always arrive before they're needed. With a faster line rate, the system can burst a series of packets and then go idle (so the client buffers a bunch of data), but that only helps for the size of the client buffer. Increasing the buffer only makes the system less sensitive to delivery jitter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 12:22pm

      Re:

      Which is kinda the point, since netflix wont buffer the entire video, and he caps out at 29mbps when using 10 different SD streams (all without jitter), then upgreading to 75 mbps isn't going to improve anything, wether you define the improvement as 'smoother' video or 'less jitter'. (they mean the same thing)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 12:09pm

    Scam artists

    This reminds me of the scum/scam artists that call saying they are from Microsoft security and their systems have detected malware on my Windows computers, blah, blah, blah. Right! There are exactly ZERO Microsoft systems in our house! We have Macs and Linux systems. Windows? Well, I do run it in a virtual machine occasionally... The host OS is a derivative of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AnonCow, 8 May 2015 @ 12:25pm

    It goes to eleven...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Peter CM (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 12:52pm

    It's beyond puffery; it's consumer fraud.

    I run a bandwidth monitor full time. When I subscribed to Comcast's 25Mbps downstream package, the fastest real-world download speeds I ever achieved (outside of well-known speed-test sites) were around 2.1Mbps. After complaining to my local regulatory authority about two prolonged outages, Comcast bumped me to 50Mpbs (plus a TV package for my non-existent TV) at no extra charge, supposedly for a year, and my maximum real-world download speeds jumped to 4Mbps. Who knows? With a 75Mbps package, they might actually go all the way up to 6Mbps. If the FCC, the FTC, and state AG offices were doing their jobs, ISPs wouldn't be pulling this crap. It's consumer fraud, pure and simple.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 12:57pm

      Re: It's beyond puffery; it's consumer fraud.

      You forgot the two magic words that major ISPs love so much: "up to".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Peter CM (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 1:26pm

        Re: Re: It's beyond puffery; it's consumer fraud.

        If the magic words were, "up to #Mbps on well-known Internet speed-test sites," I'd concede the point. ;-)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JP Jones (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 6:09pm

        Re: Re: It's beyond puffery; it's consumer fraud.

        It's sort of like buying a pair of roller skates that advertise speeds of up to 120 MPH*.

        *When rider falls off a cliff.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 6:24pm

        Re: Re: It's beyond puffery; it's consumer fraud.

        I really, really wish companies were forbidden to use those sleazy words.

        A junker car could theoretically reach 'up to' well over a hundred miles an hour... if you dropped it from a plane, yet advertising that speed as though it had any reasonable expectation of reaching it in everyday use would be ridiculously deceptive.

        ISP's should be forced to tailor their advertising based upon the average, or median speeds that customers in a given area experience, no more of that 'Speeds up to...' crap, when the reality isn't even close to the numbers they're providing.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Peter CM (profile), 9 May 2015 @ 12:56pm

          Re: Re: Re: It's beyond puffery; it's consumer fraud.

          "ISP's should be forced to tailor their advertising based upon the average, or median speeds that customers in a given area experience, no more of that 'Speeds up to...' crap, when the reality isn't even close to the numbers they're providing."

          Absolutely. I'm not sure how the FCC and FTC officially divide their jurisdiction over ISPs with respect to unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices, but the FTC could certainly end the near-universal misrepresentation of Internet speeds within a matter of months by adopting a rule mandating something along the lines of your suggestion.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Martijn, 8 May 2015 @ 3:35pm

    Analysts and customers

    Maybe they didn't think anyone in media that still supported them would actually be a client instead of an investor.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2015 @ 6:51pm

    I imagine if I didn't have a conscience, I would like a license to lie and steal too. The government is just an accessory to the fact, but no better than the liar and the thief.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 8 May 2015 @ 10:33pm

    For those of you speaking German, there's a new video out explaining why NET NEUTRALITY KILLS.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Peter CM (profile), 9 May 2015 @ 12:40pm

      Re: German NET NEUTRALITY KILLS video

      Even with my one year of high-school German over forty years ago -- okay, and with a lot of help from the graphics -- I was able to figure out that the title was facetious and the video a critique of ISPs' opposition to net neutrality. And if there was any doubt, the link to SaveTheInternet.eu at the end put it to rest.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        techflaws (profile), 9 May 2015 @ 9:33pm

        Re: Re: German NET NEUTRALITY KILLS video

        "facetious" as in politicians claiming people will die when ISPs are not allowed to charge for high-speed lanes cause otherwise remote operations couldn't be done or cars could not prevent crashing into each other?

        Just ask Günter Oettinger about it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Roddo, 27 May 2015 @ 12:27pm

    The guy tried to upgrade me from the 25/25 plan to a 50/50 plan, telling me if I was a heavy gamer Id need it. I told him I was able to smoke ass back in the days of ADSL, so 25/25 fiber ought to be fine.

    He then said the 25/25 plan was no avaiable in my area and I would have to upgrade anyway. But I got a free phone line. Even though I ordered online. I told him to fuck off and hung up.

    I later called under my wifes name, and ordered the 25/25. Guess what, it was avaiable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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