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Verizon says gamers should pay more for bandwidth [UPDATE]

[UPDATE] Company provides new statement on the matter.

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[UPDATE] Following the publication of this story, Verizon public policy representative Ed McFadden released a statement on the matter, concerning Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam's original comments and a follow-up story on the Huffington Post. His full statement is below.

"On Wednesday evening I responded to a question from a Huffington Post reporter: “Currently I'm doing a short piece on CEO McAdam's speech on Monday, where he mentioned that 'heavy users' should 'help contribute to the investment to keep the web healthy. Could we get some clarification from Verizon on who these 'heavy users' are? Right now, it seems that Mr. McAdams (sic) is in favor of charging both consumers and companies more if they use more bandwidth, and I'd like to make sure I'm not mis-interpreting."

Verizon’s fiber to the home high-speed broadband network, FiOS, doesn't cap usage in any way. But I noted that, in general, the usage-based pricing model also already is in use nowadays. As an example, I noted: "But as you know, wireless customers already pay for the data they use. Some who stream a lot of movies and use data-intensive applications may pay a bit more, those who don't pay less." What was written was, in part, inaccurate.

My quote had nothing to do with wireline broadband customers. Verizon FiOS customers can use our fiber-fueled FiOS network to meet their streaming, gaming or surfing needs at the blazing fast speeds and capacity they want and need."

The original story is below.

Heavy Internet users, like those who stream lots of high-definition video or download video games regularly, should pay more for bandwidth compared to people who don't. That's the opinion of Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, who said this week that the concept of flat-rate Internet we've grown accustomed to might be headed out the door in the not-too-distant future.

"It's only natural that the heavy users help contribute to the investment to keep the Web healthy," McAdam said during a conference call on Monday, as reported by IDG News Service. "That is the most important concept of net neutrality."

McDowell also brushed aside concerns that Verizon, which rallied against the now-rejected net neutrality rules, would selectively block or throttle bandwidth access.

"We make our money by carrying traffic," he said. "That's how we make dollars. So to view that we're going to be advantaging one over the other really is a lot of histrionics, I think, at this point."

Currently, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Verizon and Comcast allow subscribers to stream high-quality video content through applications like Netflix or download 39GB video games without any data cap. This could change, and the indeed, gamers would be affected. But any changes to the status quo remain to be seen.

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