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Net Neutrality Racks Up Another Win as Sprint Stops Throttling Subscribers

Published Jun 18th, 2015 8:30AM EDT
Sprint Data Throttling

Who knew when a former top cable industry lobbyist took the helm at the Federal Communications Commission that it would lead to this much positive change for consumers? The FCC’s much-lauded new net neutrality rules took effect this past Friday, and we’re already seeing the effects they’re having on the Internet. The new rules aim to prevent ISPs from implementing anti-consumer schemes like paid traffic prioritization, data blocking and bandwidth throttling, and there is already a major shift taking place in the industry.

On Wednesday, the FCC levied a massive $100 million fine against AT&T for throttling users’ unlimited wireless data. Now, news that Sprint has shelved its data-throttling policy marks yet another win for wireless customers in the United States.

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Late Wednesday night, Sprint confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that it will no longer throttle users with unlimited data plans. Throttling is the practice of deliberately slowing users’ data speeds after they have used a certain amount of data in a single billing period.

Of note, it appears as though the huge fine AT&T was slapped with by the FCC wasn’t the catalyst for the change. Sprint said that it stopped throttling users last Friday, which is when the new net neutrality rules took effect.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this story is Sprint’s comment on the matter. “Sprint doesn’t expect users to notice any significant difference in their services now that we no longer engage in the process,” a Sprint spokesperson told the WSJ. In other words, at least where Sprint is concerned, the company was seemingly throttling its customers for no good reason, since the impact throttling had was not “significant.”

Sprint didn’t try to parade this move around as something it’s doing out of the kindness of its heart, of course. The company confirmed that the only reason it put an end to data throttling on its network was to be sure it isn’t violating the FCC’s new rules.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.