EFF Says T-Mobile's 'Binge On' Service Is Throttling All Video Content

EFF Says T-Mobile's 'Binge On' Service Is Throttling All Video Content

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T-Mobile's Binge On service, announced back in November, enabled customers to stream video from certain websites (Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Sling, ESPN, etc) at an "optimized" quality (equivalent to 480p) without it counting towards their monthly data cap.

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.

EFF Says T-Mobile's 'Binge On' Service Is Throttling All Video Content

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?

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EFF Says T-Mobile's 'Binge On' Service Is Throttling All Video Content
Allgood101 - January 6, 2016 at 2:57pm
I've been calling tmobile for the last three months Complaining about my Internet speeds ever sense that rolled out Getting less than 1 MB of speed Can't even play YouTube videos without them pausing buffering pausing buffering I'm on the limited plan Where there's no throttling supposed to be happening but I am getting throttled they said no I'm not getting throttled bullsh** And to even make matters worse they gave customers unlimited data for three months tying up the network even more If I knew I was going to be getting screwed over I would have just stayed with AT&T !! Too late now gave that plan up there's no way I can get a back tmobile screwing customers Now I'm wonder how to file a complaint with the FCC
Why - January 6, 2016 at 4:21am
Ok buddy. It's all smokin mirrors you keep believing
SoUtah - January 5, 2016 at 8:27pm
I would prefer this on my data plan. Low quality is better than no quality. If Verizon wasn't my only option I'd switch to T-Mobile in an instant. If anyone knows of a way to downgrade quality on Verizon to save data please let me know.
Why - January 5, 2016 at 7:49pm
PSA. Lol now y'all T-Mobile supporters now see that the company don't care about you all there so called programs there coming out with is not for y'all benefit ( jump , unlimited and unlocked, mobile without borders, ect ect IS a Bunch of BS
PHUKAI - January 5, 2016 at 7:57pm
Then explain why people claim tmobile listens to customers and mentions #wewontstop in revolutionizing the wireless industry. Heck consumer reports ranked them number one and this isn't their only Time they hit #1 spot. Say what you want, it changes nothing.
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