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.

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