Sprint Stops Throttling Wireless Users

One day after the Federal Communications Commission proposed fining AT&T $100 million for slowing the broadband speeds of wireless customers, rival telecom carrier Sprint said it would stop throttling its customers.

“Upon review, and to ensure that our practices are consistent with the FCC's net neutrality rules, we determined that the network management technique was not needed to ensure a quality experience for the majority of customers,” the company said in a statement.

Sprint's move reverses a policy dating to last year, when it said it would manage congestion by slowing down customers who use more data than 95% of other subscribers. Sprint's decision spurred advocacy group Public Knowledge to accuse Sprint of violating a 2010 FCC rule requiring networks to provide users with transparency into network management practices. That rule was the only portion of the FCC's 2010 net neutrality regulations that wasn't struck down in 2014 by an appellate court.

Public Knowledge argued at the time that Sprint's prior policy didn't shed enough light on when users were at risk of slowdowns. “Without access to network information, it is impossible for subscribers to translate 'top 5%' into an actual data amount on their own,” Public Knowledge said in an August letter to Sprint.

Last Friday, the additional net neutrality rules went into effect. Those regulations prohibit broadband carriers from blocking or degrading traffic. The regulations also impose a “general conduct” standard that prohibits carriers from impeding customers and content companies from reaching each other.

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