Netflix, Throttling, and Facepalms

March 28th, 2016 by · 4 Comments

So late last week, Netflix made an admission that has stirred the waters of net neutrality once again. Apparently they have been capping their own video delivery at 600kbps for AT&T and Verizon mobile customers but not T-Mobile or Sprint, and not telling anybody.

Now, some are arguing that this is not a net neutrality violation. They’re right, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t moronic and completely cringe-worthy and totally relevant. The effect on performance was that Netflix customers saw crappier videos on two mobile networks by its own hand over a time when Netflix has been at odds with those same two carriers over issues of throttling and fast lanes and paid prioritization.

It’s a bit like a captured criminal ramming his own face into a door while claiming police brutality. While such a plan may work in the short term, when the surveillance footage undermines the case his position is crippled when it comes to challenging the real thing later.  The fact that one nominally has the right to beat oneself against a door if one wants to isn’t helpful.

Netflix says it was doing this to save its customers from blasting through data caps, which would have been fine if it told anyone they were doing it. They will now be making self-capping optional, which will turn this into a feature that they probably should have had a long time ago.

Verizon, AT&T, and their anti-net-neutrality allies spent the last few days gleefully savaging Netflix for its offense, but saving plenty of ammunition for later I’m sure.  With the current regime of network neutrality now before the courts, they’ll be playing this for all its worth and I can’t really blame them.



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Categories: Government Regulations · ILECs, PTTs · Internet Traffic · Video

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4 Comments So Far

  • AnonReNFLX says:

    One of the things that’s missing in a lot of the commentary is that Netflix itself prioritized service on Sprint and T-Mobile at the expense of VZ and AT&T. How long before some subscribers realized that the Quality of Netflix streams look ‘better’ on some mobile networks vs. others and make a carrier switch? How is this not the exact argument that content providers hold over ISPs in the NN debate?

    • Sprint user says:

      lol. Not to worry. Netflix looks crappy on Sprint too, despite Sprint imposing no data cap, because Sprint tower density is inadequate in many areas. Better lower delivery quality than stuttering.

      Complaining about content providers, as the Article does, and as anti-net neutrality hacks are doing, however, is stupid; unlike ISPs, Netflix does not have an effective “monopoly” over each users’ last mile by virtue of costly long term contracts and specialty hardware requirements; I can vote with my feet, and toss over Netflix for Amazon or what ever. Garbled thinking/lobbying like is demonstrated in the Article is unhelpful.

  • mhammett says:

    The content guys are the guys ultimately in control. Why can’t anyone see this?

  • Blake says:

    A more logical conclusion would be that they were doing it to keep their AT&T & VZM bills low…

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