T-Mobile automatically enabled the Binge On feature for customers, but users soon realized that T-Mobile was degrading the quality of all video content, even if the content provider was not a Binge On partner. YouTube, which is not a Binge On partner, claimed that T-Mobile was degrading, or throttling, their video quality.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) decided to investigate and found that with Binge On, T-Mobile throttles all video HTML5 streaming to around 1.5Mbps -- even if the video provider is not enrolled in Binge On. That means for the customer, any video they stream will have its quality degraded unless they turn the feature off online.
Even more troubling is that T-Mobile's "optimization" consists entirely of throttling the video's stream to 1.5Mbps; therefore, if a customer is streaming a video from a server that doesn't have the ability to reduce the video quality based on connection speed, then the stream will result in stuttering and buffering.
T-Mobile has claimed that this practice isn't really "throttling," but we disagree. It's clearly not "optimization," since T-Mobile doesn't alter the actual content of the video streams in any way. Even the term "downgrading" is inaccurate, because that would mean video streams are simply being given a lower priority than other traffic. If that were true, then in the absence of higher priority traffic, videos should stream at the same throughput as any other content. But that's not the case: our tests show that video streams are capped at around 1.5Mbps, even when the LTE connection and the rest of T-Mobile's network can support higher throughput between the customer and the server. In other words, our results show that T-Mobile is throttling video streams, plain and simple.
Recently the FCC adopted net neutrality rules which are supposed to ensure that Internet providers to discriminate against traffic from a specific source. T-Mobile's practices likely violate the principles of net neutrality and while there is no official investigation, the FCC has took notice of Binge On and similar services and has sent letters to T-Mobile, AT&T, and Comcast to learn more about their "optimization" practices.
What are your thoughts on T-Mobile's Binge On Service?