Few days ago it was reported that Verizon Wireless appeared to be throttling Netflix traffic, but today Verizon seems to come clean.
Verizon admitted in a statement that it capped the traffic by doing temporary optimization test.
“We’ve been doing network testing over the past few days to optimize the performance of video applications on our network,” a Verizon Wireless spokesperson said. “The testing should be completed shortly. The customer video experience was not affected.”
What makes their statement weird is that Verizon referred to something that customers never complained about.
What customers saw wasn’t optimization, but a clear cap, with tests from Netflix’s speed-test tool showing measurably lower rates than non-Netflix tests.
Although Netflix is the only service to have this maesurements like speed-test tool producing, it looks like similar caps were used on all videos apps on the Verizon Wireless network.
“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 representative also said that a 10Mbps cap was in place for some users. “The consumer video experience should have been unaffected by the test,” he wrote, “since 1080p video is HD quality and looks great at 10.”
Those clarifications seem consistent with an across-the-board throttle on video applications, put without any disclosure to users. It is correct that , as Verge said in their article about this, a lot of the users won’t be able to perceive a 10Mbps limit on video speeds. And if that is what Verizon means by optimization, it looks like the throttling situations net neutrality advocates are warning about for years.
The official law of the land is still Title II and Verizon is still legally a common carrier that is regulated under this law, although the FCC is trying its best to roll it back, and that means that Verizon must treat all traffic equally. And although there are some exceptions to that for network management, throttling a concrete service is a undeniable violation of that law. Netflix traffic was seemingly treated separately from other traffic, and users did not choose any special services such as Go90 that could justify it.