A Verizon FiOS customer received a threatening letter after using 7 terabytes of data per month for several months.
Don't let the lowercase "v" fool you. They mean business. (Getty)
Most of us are used to dealing with data limits on our wireless plans. But unlimited data on our home Internet is something we take for granted. That's not the case for one Verizon FiOS customer, who found out what the limit is on a so-called unlimited data plan: 7 terabytes per month.
If you're not a tech head, here's how much data that is. 7 terabytes is equal to approximately 119,000 hours of MP3 music, 3,500 hours of video, or 2,170,000 photos. And that's how much this user was transferring every month. He told DSL Reports that he was using that data for volunteer web crawling projects like SETI@Home. He was donating his data to help find aliens!
Even though 7 terabytes is certainly excessive, the 500 Mbps plan that the customer pays $315/month for is supposed to feature unlimited data. That's why he was so shocked when he received this letter from Verizon, threatening to cut off his service:
More like Fi-OUCH. (via DSL Reports)
The letter states that his data usage violates Verizon's Terms of Service. Ars technica reports that Verizon's TOS say that users may not "host any type of server" or "generate excessive amounts of e-mail or other Internet traffic," but don't define what "excessive" means. The user wasn't hosting a server or sending lots of e-mails, so it seems like he was singled out just for his bandwidth.
The definition of "unlimited" data has caused problems for many Internet service providers in the last few years. Verizon itself settled with the Attorney General of New York back in 2007 over the issue. And with the rapidly increasing amount of data coursing through the Internet, it's not likely it will stop being an issue. It may even reach the point where the government has to step in and regulate it. That is, if they can figure out net neutrality first.