Netflix admits it throttles Verizon and AT&T customers

FileTrekker

n0e's slave
Feb 6, 2016
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Understandably to the outrage of customers of these (and other) networks, Netflix has secretly been throttling bandwidth to customers of these particular mobile networks for years.

The popular video service said Thursday that for more than five years it has limited its video speeds to most wireless carriers across the globe, including AT&T and Verizon, to "protect consumers from exceeding mobile data caps," which may discourage future viewing.
Without making this clear to end users, this has caused certain, what Netflix call 'consumer friendly' networks to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to streaming Netflix.

This is despite Netflix claiming to have been a supporter of Net Neutrality in recent years. Netflix have now gone on record to say they will be "looking at new ways to give its users more control over video quality. Part of those plans include a new "mobile data saver" feature that will land later this year, the report notes."

So yeah, that kinda sucks. The problem now is though is this seems to be a global practice, I don't know if the network I'm on here in the UK (o2) is affected either...
 

Diablo1099_v1legacy

Doom needs Yoghurt, Badly
Dec 12, 2009
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FileTrekker said:
So yeah, that kinda sucks. The problem now is though is this seems to be a global practice, I don't know if the network I'm on here in the UK (o2) is affected either...
Wait...I thought o2 got bought out by "3 Networks"? Or was that just in Ireland where I am?

OT: I'll admit, I never really used Netflix myself but they better not pull that shit over here.
Irish internet sucks enough as it is. >.>
 

william1657

Scout
Mar 12, 2015
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I've never been great with networking. In this case would throttling mean that the video takes longer to load, or that it would show lower quality video by default?

I could kind of see the merit in defaulting to a lower quality video on mobile devices when not attached to a WiFi connection. When not on WiFi those devices don't have the most consistent connection and the data caps can cost a lot in overages.

If they were just making things load slower on those networks then that is inexcusable. That in no way helps the consumer.
 

LostCrusader

Lurker in the shadows
Feb 3, 2011
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william1657 said:
I've never been great with networking. In this case would throttling mean that the video takes longer to load, or that it would show lower quality video by default?

I could kind of see the merit in defaulting to a lower quality video on mobile devices when not attached to a WiFi connection. When not on WiFi those devices don't have the most consistent connection and the data caps can cost a lot in overages.

If they were just making things load slower on those networks then that is inexcusable. That in no way helps the consumer.
It would cause both slower loading times and lower image quality. Can't say I'm too bothered with them throttling mobile networks, as I expect the network providers are probably doing something similar.
 

shintakie10

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Sep 3, 2008
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Yeah its kind a dick move on Netflix part, but honestly I kind of get the logic.

People are really really dumb and Verizon is really really bad when it comes to going over your cap. The charges are ridiculous and it gives you fuck all warning if you're about to go over.

Plus people are, generally, pretty ignorant about data. I work with a lot of people who don't realize how much data watching a simple 1080p video uses and they'll blow through their data like it was nothin simply because they spend a few too many hours on youtube/Netflix.

That being said Netflix should have given people the option.

However! Really the big bad in this situation is still Verizon and its ilk. Charging 40-50 dollars for going over your data cap when the base data cap is pathetically low is a gigantic dick move, especially when they push family share plans like crazy. "its totally unlikely that 4 people wont absolutely murder 10 gb of data a month. Like, wont happen ever!" said a Verizon rep to me, which is total bull. If you never ever leave wifi then sure, but if you do stuff outside of wifi range 4 people will eat the hell out of 10 gb of data.
 

tippy2k2

Beloved Tyrant
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Apr 3, 2020
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shintakie10 said:
That being said Netflix should have given people the option.
That to me is the only real "bad" thing Netflix did here (and even then, it's bad in the sense that it's mildly annoying, not bad like "We have a bunch of sweatshop workers dropping dead from exhaustion" bad.

I don't think many people would care that it's happening (in fact, I'd bet a lot of people would APPRECIATE that kind of an option) but just doing it and not giving people a choice is bad. I understand why they did it and I fully agree with you that Netflix is taking waaaay more heat than they rightly deserve here as people really should be wondering "Why AM I getting financially butchered by Verizon/AT&T on my data plan here?".