US Senators ask major wireless carriers about video services throttling

15 Nov 2018

Today Senators Edward Markey, Richard Blumenthal, and Ron Wyden sent a letter addressed to the heads of AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, asking them explanation about allegations they've been throttling video services. The senators' letters said that the Wehe tests "indicated throttling on AT&T for YouTube, Netflix, and NBC Sports... throttling on Verizon for Amazon Prime, YouTube, and Netflix... throttling on Sprint for YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Skype Video calls... [and] delayed throttling, or boosting, on T-Mobile for Netflix, NBC Sports, and Amazon Prime by providing un-throttled streaming at the beginning of the connection, and then subsequently throttling the connection". According to Ars Technica, Sprint denied Skype throttling and AT&T questioned the accuracy of the Wehe tests. The wireless carriers have until 6 of December to answer the questions for the senators.

 

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The Internet’s success lies in its design, which is based on the principle of net neutrality. From the outset, the flow of all the content on the Internet was treated without discrimination. New entrepreneurs did not need permission or market power to innovate on the Internet. With the development of new digital services, especially the ones consuming high bandwidth such as high-quality video streaming, some Internet operators (telecom companies and ISPs) started prioritising certain traffic – such as their own services or the services of their business partners – based on business needs and plans, justifying such an approach with a need to raise funds to further invest in the network. Net neutrality proponents strongly fight back such plans arguing this could limit open access to information and online freedoms, and stifle online innovation.

 

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