Netflix admits to throttling AT&T, Verizon users’ data

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Date: Friday, March 25th, 2016, 11:02
Category: Legal, News, Software


Well, that could have gone better.

Netflix, which has been caught with its hand in the cookie jar, has gone on record to say that it throttled user data through AT&T and Verizon while trying to “protect consumers from exceeding mobile data caps.” As of now, AT&T and Verizon wireless customers are still limited to streaming Netflix at 600 kilobits per second, which reduces video quality in the process.

Sprint and T-Mobile have gone unthrottled because “historically those two companies have had more consumer-friendly policies,” Netflix asserted, referring to the fact that those carriers have typically slowed users down to 2G speeds when they exceed data caps, rather than threatening overage fees. Sprint, however, was throttling nearly all video until it was pressured to stop last year, and T-Mobile is marketing “Binge On,” a controversial program which lets customers watch unlimited video from select services, but only at DVD quality (480p).

The issue itself comes from the fact that streaming two hours of HD quality video can consume roughly six gigabytes of bandwidth, thereby eating up more of a monthly allotment set by U.S. wireless carriers.

Netflix said that in May, it will be debuting a mobile “data saver”, giving people the ability to favor bandwidth or quality on their own.

The issue came about last week when T-Mobile CEO John Legere noted that AT&T and Verizon subscribers were getting lower-quality video. The latter carriers denied doing any throttling.

Speaking on behalf of AT&T, senior executive VP of external and legislative affairs, Jim Cicconi, claimed the carrier was “outraged” to learn Netflix was throttling its customers without their consent.

Netflix has vocally supported net neutrality rules and its own throttling of user data is not technically a violation of FCC policy given that Netflix itself isn’t an Internet service provider. Even so, there’s a lot to sort out and this is a long way from being over.

As always, please let us know what you think in the comments.

Via AppleInsider and the Wall Street Journal

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