Last week I contacted Verizon to discuss the renewal of my two-year FiOS Triple Play contract which already gives me 50Mbps up/down. Three different sales reps via the phone and one via an online chat all tried to convince me to upgrade to 75Mbps, with the false promise that it would give me better quality Netflix streaming, amongst other OTT streaming services. I was told that with 75Mbps I would get “smoother video viewing” and “better quality” with a higher tier service. Of course, this claim by Verizon is 100% false and they know it.
For the average consumer who doesn’t know any better, or isn’t technical, they could be paying for something they don’t need and can’t use. If they were going from DSL to FiOS, or from 5Mbps to 50Mbps, Verizon would be accurate in their quality claim. But when the average Netflix bitrate delivered via Verizon last month was 3.5Mbps, going from 50Mbps to 75Mbps has no impact on quality. When I made this point clear to the Verizon sales reps, their counter argument was that with multiple people in the household, the higher tiered service would be needed. Again, that’s not true.
During HBO’s Game Of Thrones Season 5 premiere, I had ten separate streams going on at the same time via HBO Now and Sling TV and I posted a photo to Twitter showing multiple streams in action. All combined, I consumed just under 29Mbps of my 50Mbps connection and all ten streams had perfect quality. HBO Now’s bitrate maxes out at 4Mbps and some of the streams I had going were to mobile devices. Amongst the ten streams, they averaged 2.9Mbps per second. So even if I had a household of ten people, all streaming at the same time, going from 50Mbps to 75Mbps would not have given me any better video streaming quality over what I already have. Verizon is simply using the average consumers lack of knowledge of bitrates and streaming technology to scare them into thinking they need a higher tiered package than they really do.
While some might want to chalk this us to an isolated incident, or an over zealous sales rep, that’s not the case at all. I called in three times and spoke to three different reps, plus one online and got the same pitch. Clearly this sales tactic is being driven by those higher up in the company and isn’t something a sales rep made up on their own. And two years ago, Verizon tried to pitch me the exact same story, promising better quality Netflix streaming if I upgraded my Internet package.
This tactic by Verizon needs to stop and stop now. Before anyone trres to bring the topic of Net Neutrality into the debate, this has nothing to do with it. It’s simply a bad sales practice that’s disingenuous, plays on consumers desire to want better quality video streaming and is only being done to improve Verizon’s bottom line. The average customer gets no improved service in return and false expectations are being set, which is bad for the streaming media industry and over-the-top content providers, not to mention consumers. Verizon needs to re-educate their sales force and do away with this sales tactic immediately.