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Verizon’s New ‘Unlimited’ Data Plans Are Only Unlimited As Long As You Don’t Care About Speed

Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Just in case you thought that net neutrality was an abstract, hypothetical thought experiment, Verizon is here to bring reality crashing down on your head. The telecom giant introduced a number of “unlimited” data plans that throttle video quality across the board, and reserve the right to throttle data speeds in certain conditions.

The Verge has a good granular breakdown of what the new data plans mean, but the main sticking point is that on smartphones, video quality won’t rise above 480p, and on tablets it won’t go above 720p. Most modern smartphones are capable of displaying higher-resolution 1080p video. You, as the customer, don’t have a say in the matter.

If the network is congested at any time, Verizon is reserving the right to throttle your speeds as well, not just when you butt up against the limits of your monthly allotment.

The new restrictions are just an opening salvo in telecom monopolies breaking down net neutrality with alarming efficiency, putting restrictions on when and how you access data. This is exactly the sort of things that the FCC’s net-neutrality protections (which, by the way, are currently still in place) were meant to protect against. It’s going to get a lot worse for consumers before it gets better — and it might not.

Verizon’s New ‘Unlimited’ Data Plans Aren’t