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Sitting at about 0 worries. The second Verizon (or any other company's) new wireless tech started to mess with WiFi in practice (as in, at the consumer level), and was clearly attributable, they would instantly be hit with a giant tidal wave of bad PR.

Wifi works. People will not be very happy if you single-handedly break all their wifi-enabled things.




And what if it's not really clearly attributable? Imagine if there are only problems in areas with particularly high densities of LTE-U users. And even then, the problems could be sporadic, resulting in occasional wifi disconnects, or generally slower speeds. Wifi service wouldn't be "single-handedly broken," but service quality would definitely be degraded. And consumers won't be able to explain or prove why it's happening, so they aren't likely to get out their torches and pitchforks.


Depends. If Google et al are right and they have studies which show it degrades performance under certain conditions, then all it would take is one class action to get off the ground.

People will pile on, and the evidence that Verizon knows their technology can cause problems is already mounting. That they're pushing their products through without reviews or certifications could be seen as evidence of negligence or maliciousness.


> all it would take is one class action to get off the ground

What would be the cause of action? Why aren't the manufacturers of microwave ovens sued under the same cause of action?


Microwaves should be properly shielded. If your microwave is interfering with your Wifi, its time for a new microwave.


INAL nor have I really thought into this too hard, but it seems to me the difference between microwaves and wifi in this particular situation is that microwaves were the incumbents and their functionality was not disrupted by wifi, where as now wifi is the incumbent and will allegedly be damaged by the new LTE-U.


I think in this case, the best interests of the companies that were receiving support complaints/bad press for broken products would be motivated to find and prove out the problem.

If some product company (let's say, a router company) experienced some enormous increase in customer service and damage to brand image, I'd like to believe they'd eventually put quite a bit of money into finding out why they're losing money.

Could you imagine a world where a service rep has been instructed to ask whether a customer has any Verizon devices in the house? And to just give up, if they do, and blame Verizon? Would be terrible for Verizon's brand, pretty sure they're not ready (and probably don't want) to partition consumers who use internet-connected devices into pro-verizon and anti-verizon.


And poor network performance can often be attributed to multiple components.

Your WiFi is slow ? Restart your computer, upgrade your operating system, clear your browser cache, move your router closer to you, buy a different modem etc. There is plenty of room for deniability that interference is the root cause.


You're right, there definitely is (and it's obviously not a given that the service degradation would be attributable), but I think the product companies that are on the receiving end of the complaints will probably start putting money into correcting the problem (or at least rectifying public opinion) once people think the products are the problem.

Google is going to be pissed if their new wifi router doesn't work properly despite millions spent on testing, just because Verizon is screwing things up for everyone.


> Wifi works. People will not be very happy if you single-handedly break all their wifi-enabled things.

If you gradually deploy your non-solution while upselling them the cool new product, they won't even notice until it's too late.


I'm still amazed how mostly everyone is praising T-Mobile for violating net neutrality with free music and video streaming. Instead of looking at the long-term effects (prices for other types of data will stay higher), everyone just looked at the short-term effects ("we get free video streaming _and_ they made data cheaper at the same time too").


Because not everyone agrees about what "net neutrality" means.

On the more universally reviled end of the spectrum, you have companies attempting to charge servers to pass traffic to their (also paying) customers.

On the nearly universally acceptable end of the spectrum, you have the widespread use of CDNs, or the Netflix and YouTube caching servers that they give ISPs for free.

Somewhere in the middle you have wireless ISPs offering free bandwidth to their users for use with popular services. Hard to get customers to see that as a bad thing, especially if they already use those services.


> Somewhere in the middle you have wireless ISPs offering free bandwidth to their users for use with popular services. Hard to get customers to see that as a bad thing, especially if they already use those services.

I was quite glad that the CRTC ruled against this practice in Canada. If telecoms want to run successful mobile television streaming businesses, they can start selling reasonable amounts of data with their plans.

People want bigger data plans more than they want Bell TV on their phones, so I think it got reasonable public support. Consumers groups widely applauded the ruling, at least.


> If telecoms want to run successful mobile television streaming businesses, they can start selling reasonable amounts of data with their plans.

First-party services fall in a different category; quite aside from net neutrality, that raises potential antitrust concerns.

But partnering with third-party services, especially if offering to do so with arbitrary third-party services, seems far less problematic.


> First-party services fall in a different category; quite aside from net neutrality, that raises potential antitrust concerns.

Anti-trust law in the US is only relevant if the company has a monopoly.

That's exactly why net neutrality is important, and anti-trust law does not suffice. Because two competing ISP's both charging netflix to get the data you are already paying for to you, are not a monopoly.

(Notwithstanding that where I live Comcast is basically the only broadband option -- I still don't believe they have ever been legally determined to be a monopoly (yet?))


T-Mobile is not violating NN with video streaming - they have a program where they'll essentially host your stuff (i.e., the Netflix suggestion to Comcast during their spat)... it's not discriminatory, in fact on the press meeting, someone asked if porn sites would be included and the answer was favorable.

I'm not sure about their zero-rating of audio streaming.


Anyone have any info about this program? Quick googling about didn't help me, and I'm quite curious about how this program works.


Except Verizon can't upsell everyone, and if you're suggesting that they can lead a push to replace wifi as we know it today, I would definitely put money on that NOT happening.


You're assuming people understand there's a limited amount of bandwidth available in a given amount of wireless spectrum.


Indeed; more generally, you're assuming people have any idea at all how the device in their hand connects to the internet, or even what the internet really is (it's a series of tubes!).

Most people live in a state of ignorant bliss.


Does this make you think that there's more going on with this story than meets the eye? It doesn't seem a giant like Big Red would be ignorant to something like this. They must have an end-game that's not being portrayed here. However unconcerned they seem to be towards bad PR, I'm surprised they'd risk being the reason iWhatever's aren't syncing.


Didn't really think there would be more to the story, though there very well could be. I think this is more the case of:

1. We made something awesome in labs (by bending/breaking some traditional rules)

2. It's X% faster than traditional connections/has all these properties, let's get to market ASAP

3. Oh, in the real world, this tech doesn't play nicely with other tech because of how we built it

4. Maybe we can just muscle it through?

If the scale were smaller (let's say, developers on some widely used open source standard/code), this would have been a simple case of "oops, that's a bit shit, better get back in the lab and try to figure out a way to not trample other broadcasts, but keep the speed boosts we were proud of".




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