As we’ve discussed before, “unlimited” plans turn out to have a lot of limits. Verizon’s happen to be the most glaring as you can’t even opt out of its video streaming limits. But now, you can! If you’re willing to pay them for the privilege!
Verizon has decided that for an extra $10 a month, per line, you will be allowed to stream video over their network at any resolution you wish. Keep in mind that just three months ago, as The Verge points out, this was part of Verizon’s unlimited plan as a standard. Now, if you want to stream video at above DVD quality, you’ll have to have their top tier unlimited plan, Beyond Unlimited, and pay the $10 surcharge. For one person, that’s $95 a month. For a family of four, that’s $240 a month.
To be fair, Sprint does the same thing. But really, that’s the problem: All the carriers are doing this. You can’t really call a plan “unlimited” when there are in fact plenty of limits. It’s not particularly clear why these limits are being imposed, either. If it’s a network problem, why isn’t Verizon investing that money in their infrastructure, instead of paying out dividends? It’s true that nobody particularly needs 4K streaming on tap, in most cases, but this ties into a larger problem. Where do the limits on “unlimited” plans stop, and who decides that?
As the internet becomes key to daily life, and having access to information networks can mean the difference between catching a bus or missing one, between hearing about a job and not, and finding the right price for something you need or not, these limits are going to cause problems. Keep in mind, we’re not talking about a physical item that needs to be piped or trucked. These are radio waves we’re paying for, not oil. They’re limited, physically, only by the number of receivers and transmitters. And if the mobile industry’s infrastructure truly can’t keep up with the demand, and keeps adding fees while refusing to do it, it’s worth asking what, exactly, we’re paying them for.
(via The Verge)