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Verizon Throttled Netflix And YouTube Due To 'Video Optimization Test,' Company Admits

23 July 2017, 11:41 pm EDT By Carl Velasco Tech Times
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Verizon has officially admitted to capping speeds of video services on its network, shrinking it down to 10 Mbps for some customers. Though it calls them optimization tests, people have expressed how this is one effect of net neutrality’s dissolution.  ( Eric Thayer | Getty Images )

Verizon did indeed throttle speeds of customers around last week. The Big Red admitted to intentionally capping internet speeds — saying it was a temporary video optimization test, which affected users strongly find outright ridiculous.

Why Verizon Throttled Video Services

The company said it has been performing network tests over the past few days to "optimize" video apps on its network.

"The testing should be completed shortly. The customer video experience was not affected," said a Verizon spokesperson in a statement.

Many who were actually affected found the statement bizarre, as it runs in conflict with what had actually occurred. Customers did not experience "optimization" — they suffered through an actual throttling of speeds when using Netflix, YouTube, and other video-heavy sites. Speed tests using Netflix's speedtest tool showed significantly lower speeds than other testing tools, in fact.

Also, it now appears that Verizon capped other video services in its network. A later statement from Verizon called accusations of capping "dead wrong" and said it "makes no sense."

Moreover, Verizon retorted by saying it constantly tests its network to "optimize performance for our customers." A representative also confirmed that a 10 Mbps cap was set in place for some customers, although the experience shouldn't have been affected even so, because 1080p video still looks great at that speed, according to the representative.

While that's true, the fact that the company throttled its customers' speed for no apparent reason caused significant concern for many, especially amid the tense tug-o-war between net neutrality fighters and detractors.

What Verizon did is a specific scenario which net neutrality proponents often highlight — that networks can prioritize video streaming services or deprioritize them. How do you make sure you're getting the best experience? Well, in this particular scenario, you'd be forced to pay up added fees for optimal service, presumably. All that is thanks to the dissolution of net neutrality protections.

Net Neutrality Isn't Gone — At Least Not Yet

Remember, net neutrality, or specifically, Title II, is still the law. While the FCC continuously makes effort to reduce net neutrality protections to a pulp, Verizon still remains subject to Title II, meaning it needs to treat all kinds of traffic equally. Throttling one service specifically is a clear violation of those laws.

For some, Verizon's throttling actions mark only the beginning of under-the-table activities companies are legally able to perform once net neutrality protections falter. Rolling back Title II has been seemingly a point of target for Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission's current chief. Recent reports say people submitted more than 10 million comments to FCC regarding net neutrality.

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