Major wireless carriers are on a throttling spree and why not if they were authorized by the current Federal Communications Commission under Ajit Pai through its Restore Internet Freedom Act.
Based on a research, wireless carriers are consistently throttling video to offer costlier plans. This unlawful practice has been one of the targets of the net neutrality protections to prevent. But with the repeal of the regulation, these companies are free to do whatever they want at all cost to generate higher profit.
This week, Democratic senators namely Richard Blumenthal, Edward Markey, and Ron Wyden sent notifications to Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint that compelled the telecom companies to provide more information on the latest study that identified wireless carriers that irrationally delay video streaming services such as Netflix or YouTube. More often than not, they do it with little specific vindication and even less openness.
Two months ago, Northeastern researcher Dave Choffnes discovered that wireless carriers also frequently throttle video streaming services apps in an effort to force subscribers to switch to a more expensive plan. This is aside from claiming that they only throttle the apps to maintain network congestion.
According to Verizon, it restricts video streaming quality on its few “unlimited” data plans except if subscribers purchase a more pricey subscription. Choffnes also discovered lately that Sprint was throttling Skype’s operation without notifying customers of the limitation of the service. However, the telecom company denied the allegation when approached for comments.
“All online traffic should be treated equally, and Internet service providers should not discriminate against particular content or applications for competitive advantage purposes or otherwise,” the senators stated in their letter.
They added that Choffnes’ discovery of the throttling practices by these wireless carriers of the video streaming services will violate net neutrality principles and unjustly regard unaware consumers that their telecom companies are appointing which services will receive faster or slower approach. It is a clear case of paid prioritization and slow and fast lanes, isn’t it?
Sen. Ed Markey exclaimed that the facts obtained from the Wehe app emphasize the necessity for the previous Obama-era internet rules. He stated in his tweet that the gathered data through the Wehe app demonstrates that wireless carriers such as Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T all throttled at least one video streaming service. Since the regulation has been repealed, wireless carriers have the opportunity to discriminate particular contents and rivals, that is why net neutrality rules are necessary.
Researchers detected probable slowing down of contents for YouTube, NBC Sports, and Netflix by AT&T; Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube by Verizon; NBC Sports, Amazon Prime; and Netflix by T-Mobile, and Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube by Sprint including Skype video calls.
Sen. Markey resorted to Congressional Review Act (CRA), following the current FCC’s decision to dismantle the 2015 Open Internet Order. The said order mandates broadband companies to function in the “public interest” and not to implement “unjust” business practices. It prohibits broadband and telecom companies from creating fast and slow lanes or prioritizing those who could afford a higher paid subscription.
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