Netflix admits to throttling video on AT&T & Verizon, says it was to protect viewers

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in iPhone
Netflix has been throttling video for AT&T and Verizon mobile subscribers for over five years, the streaming service has newly admitted, claiming it was in customers' best interests.




The company said it was trying to "protect consumers from exceeding mobile data caps," according to the Wall Street Journal. 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).

Streaming two hours of Netflix video at HD quality could consume up to 6 gigabytes of bandwidth, easily blowing past many of the data caps imposed by U.S. 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 to the fore 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.

AT&T's 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 been a vocal proponent of net neutrality rules, particularly since losing those protections could impede traffic for customers or force it to pay extra to Internet service providers. Its own throttling of customers is not technically a violation of FCC policy, however, since it isn't an ISP.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,962member
    I'd rather let Netflix throttle the video than ATT chargs $15 overage fee.
    pmzcornchipzroger73ewtheckmanlostkiwi
  • Reply 2 of 40
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member

    AT&T's 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.

    HA! Outraged that Netflix cost them a bundle in disgusting overage fees.
    edited March 2016 auriconiscornchipzroger73ewtheckmannolamacguylostkiwilatifbp
  • Reply 3 of 40
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,903member
    AT&T ..."Outraged" '... you stopped us  to sticking it to our customers with massive overage charges!

    Well Done Netflix.  That said there should be a check box to allow full speed for those of us grandfathered in with no data limits, as we are.
    edited March 2016 mike1ewtheckmanicoco3lostkiwilatifbp
  • Reply 4 of 40
    It's also why 2 of my friends quit their Netflix subscriptions because of the crappy HD picture quality.
    supadav03
  • Reply 5 of 40
    supadav03supadav03 Posts: 417member
    Why are people in the comments defending Netflix? So I paid full price for a service which you didn't deliver and people are applauding them for this? I'll worry about my data cap myself. Just deliver my HD content at the quality I paid for without a ridiculous amount of buffering and I'm happy. It's not your concern what my data charges are.
    mike1mark notzduervocintos
  • Reply 6 of 40
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,809member
    That should be my decision, not Netflix's. Don't need you to protect me.
    mark notzduervocalicintos
  • Reply 7 of 40
    mnbob1mnbob1 Posts: 259member
    As the father of a teenager I'm relieved to know that Netflix had my back. As it is she often uses about 22 GB of our 30 GB monthly plan as it is. How much would she have used without Netflix doing the throttling? AT&T management can skip the outrage when they make streaming services more affordable on their network. Free calls and texting my on their plans aren't an incentive. The world is using data which is easier to provision on the LTE networks and much more efficient. The high monthly fees are ridiculous now that they've updated most of their system and moving to the next level is almost all software. Adding $15 per GB is robbery. My daughter can use that in two days. This month if I didn't shut her down and she continued at the same rate of usage it would double the cost of my monthly bill which has 4 smartphones on it if we used 15 more GB's. Half of what we have on our plan. 
    ewtheckmanasdasd
  • Reply 8 of 40
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    mike1 said:
    That should be my decision, not Netflix's. Don't need you to protect me.
    Netflix has said, and its mentioned in this article, that they do indeed intend to make it option for you to blow through your LTE data.
    ewtheckman
  • Reply 9 of 40
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    mike1 said:
    That should be my decision, not Netflix's. Don't need you to protect me.
    Netflix has said, and its mentioned in this article, that they intend to make it an option for you to blow through your LTE data.
  • Reply 10 of 40
    mnbob1 said:
    As the father of a teenager I'm relieved to know that Netflix had my back. As it is she often uses about 22 GB of our 30 GB monthly plan as it is. How much would she have used without Netflix doing the throttling? AT&T management can skip the outrage when they make streaming services more affordable on their network. Free calls and texting my on their plans aren't an incentive. The world is using data which is easier to provision on the LTE networks and much more efficient. The high monthly fees are ridiculous now that they've updated most of their system and moving to the next level is almost all software. Adding $15 per GB is robbery. My daughter can use that in two days. This month if I didn't shut her down and she continued at the same rate of usage it would double the cost of my monthly bill which has 4 smartphones on it if we used 15 more GB's. Half of what we have on our plan. 
    I have 2 teenage daughters so i know where you're coming from. Unless T-Mobile service really sucks where you live, you might want to flip AT&T the finger and move over.
  • Reply 11 of 40
    Considering it wasn't to long ago that streaming video apps like Netflix wouldn't work unless you were connected to wifi anyway (or were running a program called 3Gwifi on a jail broken phone that tricked apps and FaceTime into thinking you were on wifi) this really doesn't bother me. Even at 600k the picture looks good on an iPad so I don't see what people are freaking out about. 
  • Reply 12 of 40
    I'd like to throttle Netflix's management.
  • Reply 13 of 40
    montrosemacs said:
    mnbob1 said:
    As the father of a teenager I'm relieved to know that Netflix had my back. As it is she often uses about 22 GB of our 30 GB monthly plan as it is. How much would she have used without Netflix doing the throttling? AT&T management can skip the outrage when they make streaming services more affordable on their network. Free calls and texting my on their plans aren't an incentive. The world is using data which is easier to provision on the LTE networks and much more efficient. The high monthly fees are ridiculous now that they've updated most of their system and moving to the next level is almost all software. Adding $15 per GB is robbery. My daughter can use that in two days. This month if I didn't shut her down and she continued at the same rate of usage it would double the cost of my monthly bill which has 4 smartphones on it if we used 15 more GB's. Half of what we have on our plan. 
    I have 2 teenage daughters so i know where you're coming from. Unless T-Mobile service really sucks where you live, you might want to flip AT&T the finger and move over.
    I have recently switched from AT&T to T-Mobile. I live in Phoenix, AZ. Sometimes the call reliability has been spotty, but when it is working right it is great! So YMMV.
  • Reply 14 of 40
    pakittpakitt Posts: 152member
    If they simply allowed, like Amazon Video does, to download content over Wifi in advance, without forcing people to stream all the time...
  • Reply 15 of 40
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,369member
    Not that I'm defending them, but why would anyone really need to watch higher resolution than 480p on a 3.5-4" device, which is going to account for the majority of Apple devices streaming video over cellular services? Maybe in the last two years after the introduction of the 6 Plus, higher res makes a difference, and even then I'm not convinced. But this has been going on for at least 5 years. Moreover, why would anyone choose HD video quality on such a small screen, over a cellular connection? Even under ideal cellular circumstances, that's a huge amount of unecessary bandwidth resulting in playback issues, buffering and the like.
    edited March 2016 duervoretrogustopscooter63
  • Reply 16 of 40
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 879member
    sog35 said:
    AT&T and Verizon are guilty for charging ridiculous penalties for going over your cap. Pure evil. There should be a law if companies charge massive fines for OVERUSE the customer should get massive refunds for UNDER USE.
    What, you mean customers should pay for what they use and nothing more? That's a totally unheard of concept.
  • Reply 17 of 40
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,406member
    mnbob1 said:
    As the father of a teenager I'm relieved to know that Netflix had my back. As it is she often uses about 22 GB of our 30 GB monthly plan as it is. How much would she have used without Netflix doing the throttling? AT&T management can skip the outrage when they make streaming services more affordable on their network. Free calls and texting my on their plans aren't an incentive. The world is using data which is easier to provision on the LTE networks and much more efficient. The high monthly fees are ridiculous now that they've updated most of their system and moving to the next level is almost all software. Adding $15 per GB is robbery. My daughter can use that in two days. This month if I didn't shut her down and she continued at the same rate of usage it would double the cost of my monthly bill which has 4 smartphones on it if we used 15 more GB's. Half of what we have on our plan. 
    I don't agree with this mentality.  It's not the responsibility of Netflix, AT&T, or anyone else to watch out for your daughter's inability to distinguish between WiFi and LTE.  Perhaps she should experience the reality of paying for her own bill if she can't control her usage.  It's not my intent to be rude about it, really.

    Would you drive in the middle of the desert with a 1/4-tank of gas?  No, because you know when it's empty... it's empty.  
    We have users here that are just ignorant of using WiFi instead of LTE on our corporate phones because since they're not paying the bills, they don't care.  So we are clamping-down on them since they seem to think it's no big deal.  Once we started denying covering their (generous) data plans due to abuse, surprisingly they got the hint.


    supadav03duervopmzpscooter63
  • Reply 18 of 40
    kpluckkpluck Posts: 500member
    The funniest thing about this is all the people defending Netflix are largely the same crowd that was calling T-Mobile's Binge On! feature a violation of net neutrality. LOL

    -kp 
  • Reply 19 of 40
    wbeemwbeem Posts: 4member

    "AT&T's 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."

    That's funny.

    You can't throttle our customers!  Only WE can throttle our customers with unlimited data plans!
  • Reply 20 of 40
    pujones1pujones1 Posts: 146member
    I don't feel it was Netflix's place to throttle my service. I pay them money to stream movies to my devices not to manage my AT&T family data plan. I want the quality streams that I'm paying for every month. I'm ready to get some money back. Class action? Something.
    supadav03
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