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Wheeler: Network Management Is Tech, Not Biz, Issue

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler provided some insight Friday on his concerns about wireless carrier network management, which has expressed itself in letters to the Big Four major carriers.

Wheeler is concerned about putting any speed limits, even on the heaviest users at peak periods, on folks with unlimited data plans, part of a larger concern that subs get the speeds and service they have paid for.

Wheeler said reasonable network management was a technology determination and an engineering determination. "What I am concerned about in this instance, and it is not just with Verizon by the way, we have written to all the carriers, is that it is moving from technology and engineering issues into business issues such as choosing between different subscribers based on your economic relationship with them." He suggested that was moving in the wrong direction.

He talked about the decision Verizon made back in 2012 to end unlimited plans as a new offering, and that for the million on unlimited plans who wanted to keep them, they would have to pay the full price for the phone. "You can't then turn around and tell them they can't use unlimited."

Wheeler said another concern with Verizon was the C Block issue. As a condition of getting spectrum in the C Block auction, Verizon agreed to the condition "not to degrade or interfere."

He said other than the C Block, the issues that apply to Verizon apply to the other wireless carriers as well.