California man finds limits of Verizon FiOS unlimited data broadband service: 77TB

By on May 24, 2013, 8:30 AM

Verizon offers unlimited data for their FiOS fiber-optic broadband service, but as one person found out recently, as with all things, it’s not truly “unlimited.” A California man, who goes by the handle Houkouonchi online and preferred not to be identified by name in his interview with Ars Technica, said he got a call from a Verizon representative after he used 77 terabytes of data in one month.

Houkouonchi has a truly impressive server rack in his home, filled with seven servers and a combined 209TB of raw storage. He said he provides a host of services to friends and family, including a personal VPN, video streaming, and peer-to-peer file services. As an IT professional managing a test lab at an Internet storage company in California, this guy knows his way around a rack.

The massive collection of hard drives is primarily filled with media files, which Houkouonchi sets up his friends to stream from his servers to their homes.

After using an average of 50TB per month since January, Verizon engineers noticed the unusual data usage and got a hold of him. "Basically he said that my bandwidth usage was excessive (like 30,000 percent higher than their average customer)," Houkouonchi said. He explained to the rep that he has a full rack of servers with which he hosts data, and was promptly informed that this is against Verizon’s Terms of Service for FiOS, which prohibits use for “high volume purposes” and the hosting of any type of server. He was told he would need to switch to a business line or be disconnected in July, which he made out to be a non-issue in the interview.

Since this turned out to be a case of violation of the ToS, it’s not technically illustrative of the limits of an unlimited data plan, but in Verizon’s favor, anyone would have trouble using more data than this without breaking some rules. For now, technically, FiOS is still unlimited.




User Comments: 22

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Guest said:

Yea, but does he run crysis?

2 people like this | cmbjive said:

If he is using that much data he shouldn't even be on FiOS. He should be paying the same rate as a business that runs a server farm.

1 person liked this | Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

"This guy knows his way around a rack" lol

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

That is one tidy setup, he must be paid way too much, that setup would have cost an arm and a leg but the electric bill must be painful.

To be fair in the UK I have BT Fibre at home with a little microserver and BT don't seem to care, but they probably would if I started using 50TB! I struggle to reach 1TB of use a month.

cmbjive said:

I wonder what 77 TB in information would be anyway. He has to be helping his friends and family run their online setups for their business.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Here's what I was surprised by...

"Basically he said that my bandwidth usage was excessive (like 30,000 percent higher than their average customer),"

So was 50TB equal to 30,000% of a normal customer or was 77TB = 30,000% of a normal customer? 30,000% would be 300 households, and 77TB/300 is 256 GB per household. That seems like a lot. 50TB/300 is 166GB, which still seems like a lot. I'd have guessed the average household to use like 25-50GB of data per month.

3 people like this | Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

It's interesting to see how these companies have created the idea and successfully implanted in the heads of the general public, that the resource that is the 'internet' is a finite resource and how you connect to it is like a barrel of oil or lump of coal, that we should all do our best to conserve and portion out our usage, preserve our environment. but pay the premiums that are demanded of course.

3 people like this | Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

It's interesting to see how these companies have created the idea and successfully implanted in the heads of the general public, that the resource that is the 'internet' is a finite resource and how you connect to it is like a barrel of oil or lump of coal, that we should all do our best to conserve and portion out our usage, preserve our environment. but pay the premiums that are demanded of course.

Please, explain how bandwidth is an unlimited resource.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Anything against "Verizon?s Terms of Service" doesn't mean it's "Unlimited".

Like if I told you that you can borrow my car, and have unlimited use. Then you mention, "I wanted to jump the Grand Canyon with it." Well, now here comes some limitations! No jumping the canyon, blowing the car up, strapping JATOs to it... That's what Verizon's doing. You have unlimited use, as long at you follow their limitations! That's not truly unlimited to me.

1 person liked this | spencer spencer said:

Yeah we get to pay insane prices to get cable+internet so we can get spyed on.Ever go on the internet and look up a college or a product and as soon as you get off your comp the commercial will magically be the exact same thing you looked up 5mins ago;Something is obviously not right here. I can't even begin to think what that guy must have being doing;bitcoin mining with 30 different computers?

3 people like this | EEatGDL said:

Please, explain how bandwidth is an unlimited resource.

I know, I know!! Because he access only servers based on pure Turing machines on his daily basis; with communication cables that are capable of sending infinite data per second without even multiplexing, in parallel tons of bits sent serially in each line, all of them sent to his house!!!

I mean, what kind of mortal connects to servers with limited resources through an ISP with limited resources; give me a break.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'd have guessed the average household to use like 25-50GB of data per month.

Really? you'd guess that low? I eat that up downloading 2 -3 games through Steam, at our Household its more like 300-400GB but on extreme months where we've had a new computer installed or things have just been crazy we can hit a TB.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

It's worth noting that the guy (houkouonchi) wasn't satisfied with Ars' report:

[H]ardForum

Akismet, please let me pass. This really isn't spam...

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

It's interesting to see how these companies have created the idea and successfully implanted in the heads of the general public, that the resource that is the 'internet' is a finite resource and how you connect to it is like a barrel of oil or lump of coal, that we should all do our best to conserve and portion out our usage, preserve our environment. but pay the premiums that are demanded of course.

Where did you get that idea? This guy didn't use up the internet like you can use up a barrel of oil or lump of coal. There's still plenty of internet left for the rest of us.

There is however, limited bandwidth, and if Verizon promises fast speeds to everyone and that speed is compromised by someone using 300 times the average, then they're going to say something about it.

3 people like this | slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I wonder what 77 TB in information would be anyway. He has to be helping his friends and family run their online setups for their business.

Must be pr0n.

JC713 JC713 said:

30,000 percent higher than the average user LOL.

2 people like this | jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

Yea, but does he run crysis?

oh - - everything is measure in games/hr? sheez

Guest said:

>For now, technically, FiOS is still unlimited.

TechSpot is as bad as Verizon. Apparently, both of you need to look up the word "unlimited" in the dictionary.

Unlimited means unlimited. Which word isn't clear?

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

>TechSpot is as bad as Verizon. Apparently, both of you need to look up the word "unlimited" in the dictionary.
And you need to look up the word "exploit".

That still doesn't prove this service is not unlimited. The service is unlimited. But if someone is plainly taking advantage of the service, there is no reason why questions can not be asked. And in this case a service is being exploited, to provide multiple services to others. Verizon is well beyond their rights, to shut down this exploit. The service is unlimited to provide a service without caps, not a service to provide multiple services to others. It's not intended to provide a 24/7 exploit, in the name of unlimited service.

sturgel said:

Yeah we get to pay insane prices to get cable+internet so we can get spyed on.Ever go on the internet and look up a college or a product and as soon as you get off your comp the commercial will magically be the exact same thing you looked up 5mins ago;Something is obviously not right here. I can't even begin to think what that guy must have being doing;bitcoin mining with 30 different computers?

Sometimes I would like this data mining to happen for instance when you want to go buy a vehicle which I recently did I was thinking hey wouldn't it be great is the local dealers were courting ME with deals they can offer? Offer me deals online when I am looking for something and you just might get my business! So when I WANT to be a preferred customer for a company I'd like to have that option and get THEM to offer the deals not me LOOK for them and negotiate them. Offer me them!

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