Verizon admits to throttling video traffic

By:
Natalie Bannerman
Published on:

Verizon Wireless customers experience caps of up to 10Mbps on video streaming applications Netflix and YouTube

In a statement to Ars Techinca and The Verge, Verizon has admitted to capping traffic to all video content, in a move the company said was to “optimize the performance of video applications on our network”.

Customers have taken to social media explaining their experience of the slowed Verizon Wireless service. In a Reddit thread, users complained that they were unable to reach download speeds any faster than 10MBps when connecting to Netflix, verified through Fast.com the speed test tool that’s powered by Netflix servers. Users on Howard Forums are reportedly also experiencing the cap, claiming that it’s also being applied to YouTube.

“We've been doing network testing over the past few days to optimize the performance of video applications on our network. The testing should be completed shortly. The customer video experience was not affected,” a Verizon Wireless spokesperson said to The Verge.

Many critics have said the move, could be considered throttling and violates net neutrality rules which are still in place in the US, under Title II. There are questions on the validity of their defense, as customers experienced no optimization but a clear cap on traffic and may have been slowed in attempts to favour its own video streaming service Go90. A claim Verizon vehemently denies saying:

"It is across the board," Verizon said when speaking to Ars Technica, and asked if Go90 and other Verizon properties were affected.

“We are constantly testing the network,” the representative said. “It's what we do, to optimize performance for our customers. The test was across the board, and did not target any individual applications. The consumer video experience should not have been unaffected by the test since 1080p video is HD quality and looks great at 10 [Mbps].”

Though no clear isolation of services have been officially confirmed, it’s the lack of communication from Verizon surrounding this cap or as a Reddit user said the 'silent' manner in which these tests have been done, that fuels suspicion around their motives.