Study Reveals Telecoms’ Throttling Of YouTube, Netflix

In Decenternet, News

Do households notice that their favorite TV programs are being throttled?

Binge watching could be an expensive habit especially if you have to shell out some extra bucks to get a faster internet connection. In the event that consumers cannot afford to pay higher fees, they have to settle for a slow connection and stay in the “slow” lane. Lucky for those who have deep pockets because they can enjoy and continue watching without any interruption, interference or throttling and stay in the “fast” lane.

This practice of large telecom companies is called throttling. Without the protection of net neutrality principles, consumers are being deprived of the free and open internet. Internet Service Providers discriminate contents and interfere with the internet traffic favoring only those who could pay a better price for their poor customer service.

According to a new collaborated study conducted by the Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, giant telecom companies in the US are holding back internet traffic particularly in Netflix and YouTube.

University researchers used Wehe, a smartphone app downloaded by almost 100,000 users. Its objective is to keep an eye on which mobile services are being curbed when and by what company. The study reveals that YouTube tops the list of throttling practices of telecom companies while Netflix, Amazon’ Prime Video, and NBC Sports app are likewise impaired in the same manner according to Wehe app developer, David Choffnes.

Choffnes turned into a  net neutrality watchdog since the FCC voted to repeal it in 2017. He has been given authorization by the French government to utilize the Wehe app to review for net neutrality violations. He shared the findings of the study to the Federal Trade Commission which now police the management and procedures of telecom companies.

Data throttling has been a big issue since the fire broke out in the Mendocino Complex and ravaged a large area. Verizon was accused of throttling the fire department’s data which the wireless carrier admitted. It was also one of the grounds why the Assembly passed Sen. Scott Wiener’s SB 822.

Electronic Frontier Foundation tech policy director Jeremy Gillula said, “As we saw with Verizon throttling the Santa Clara County Fire Department, ISPs are happy to use words like ‘unlimited’ and ‘no throttling’ in their public statements, but then give themselves the right to throttle certain traffic by burying some esoteric language in the fine print. As a result, it’s especially important that consumers have tools like this to measure whether or not their ISP is throttling certain services. Only tools like this can really keep ISPs honest.”

Verizon spokesman Rich Young responded that they do not instantly throttle any customers. For them to manage traffic on their network, they enforce network management which is substantially different from blanket throttling.

If the unacceptable practice lingers and broadens, consumers are likely to watch or finish fewer programs. And if that would be the case, culminations, and ad coverages are likely to be affected. It would be the abrupt indication for marketers and why they need to be worried.

If the illicit practices of the telecom companies continue such as throttling of data, diverse population are greatly affected. Poor consumers and advertisers will have to be content with a slow connection or be just happy with a few numbers of people that the advertising will reach instead of none at all.

The Decenternet platform prevails the open internet guidelines. There is no blocking, especially throttling of data and no paid prioritization.  Internet traffic has a smooth flow so consumers can freely communicate online without any interruption. It empowers and protects the free speech of the consumers.

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