Verizon Wireless has admitted that it had indeed been throttling streamed video content from Netflix as well as other video content providers. About a week ago, there were reports that the number one mobile operator in the United States was seemingly capping connection speeds for subscribers who were watching video content from Netflix on the Big Red’s network. The major US wireless carrier has since confirmed that it was throttling network speeds in order to optimize the content. The company did qualify that it was not specifically throttling speeds for subscribers of Netflix.
As stated by a spokesperson for Verizon Wireless to The Verge, the carrier was conducting some testing on its network, for the purpose of optimizing the performance of video apps on its network. The representative further explained that the tests should be done soon, and stressed that the customer video experience was not compromised in any way.
Intriguingly, Verizon Wireless’ admission comes about 16 months after Netflix had confirmed that it had been downgrading the quality of the video content it was offering to Verizon as well as another major US wireless carrier, AT&T. At that time, both mobile operators were denying ever throttling video content over their respective networks, with AT&T even claiming that its subscribers on 4G LTE can get much higher res video content as compared to T-Mobile’s 480p cap.
It was last week when some subscribers of Verizon Wireless took to Reddit in order to complain that their connections were throttled at 10 mbps, including those who checking using Netflix’s network speed testing tool Fast.com. At that time, Netflix has insisted that the connection problems were not on its end. As told by a spokesperson for Netflix to Engadget, Netflix does not cap data nor does it cap for any wireless network, although it does offer options within the Netflix mobile app that allows the service’s subscribers to manage their own resolution quality settings as well as data usage.
According to a report recently published by Ars Technica, it appears that some YouTube users are complaining about degraded video content quality, too. These users also claim that by taking full advantage of a VPN (virtual private network) service, one can bypass the Big Red’s throttling. Wireless service providers based in the US are generally permitted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to limit video quality, provided that the limitations are implemented uniformly across various video services, despite net neutrality regulations discouraging any throttling practice. It bears noting that net neutrality does have exceptions as long as it is a matter of network management.
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