Netflix Admits Throttling Video Speeds For AT&T And Verizon Customers
Netflix has admitted that it is capping video streams at 600kbps for customers on AT&T and Verizon network for the past five years. According to Netflix, they throttle video speeds to protect its customers from overage charges when they exceed mobile data caps. The company says that it does not throttle T-Mobile or Sprint customers because those carriers have "more consumer-friendly policies".
We believe restrictive data caps are bad for consumers and the Internet in general, creating a dilemma for those who increasingly rely on their mobile devices for entertainment, work and more.
According to WSJ, a member for the Netflix corporate communications team, Anne Marie Squeo, admits that they have been deliberately throttling video on mobile devices for more than five years, but only admitting it now. According to Squeo, their research and testing indicates "many members worry about exceeding their mobile data cap, and don’t need the same resolution on their mobile phone as on a large screen TV to enjoy shows and movies".
While Netflix concern over its customers data limit is understandable, the way they did it in secret is not. The company has been a vocal supporter of net neutrality for years, but behind the scenes, it turns out the company was partial to customers on AT&T and Verizon. Net neutrality dictates that internet service providers should treat every site and service on the internet equally, so that an ISP cannot charge you more for going to Google rather than Bing.
Although Netflix is not an ISP and the Net neutrality rules does not apply to them, the way they treat their customers differently without informing them makes their support for Net neutrality hypocritical. They also take the choice out of the hands of consumers, and ultimately create confusion as many people have thought that AT&T was responsible for the throttling. Last week, T-Mobile CEO John Legere has accused AT&T and Verizon Communications for throttling Netflix streams to 360p resolution.
This little revelation has caused quite a stir. In an email, AT&T senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs, Jim Cicconi, wrote that they are "outraged" at the practice.
We are outraged to learn that Netflix is apparently throttling video for their AT&T customers without their knowledge or consent.
Netflix is also planning a new data saver feature sometime in May, which will allow customers with low data limit - greater control over their data usage when streaming on mobile networks. With this new feature, Netflix users can either stream more video under a smaller data plan, or increase their video quality if they have a higher data plan.